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Lately pubUshed, by the same Author^ 
GREECE UNDER THE ROMANS ; an Historical View 

of the Greek Nation, from the Time of its Conquest by the 
Bomans, until the Extinction of the Roman Empire, B.C. 146, to 
A.D. 717. 8vo. 16s, 

EMPIRES. Vol. I., n6 to 1067. 8vo. 128. 

HISTORY OF GREECE, from its Conquest by the 

Crusaden to its Conquest by the Turks, and of the Empire of 
Trebizpnd, 1204-1461. 8vo. 128. 6d. 








"OXttos ooTis T^ff laropias 




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Vvx%-a-<3 . I ■• "2^ 

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/ ■ 

I 3. Reign of Manuel L, a.d. 114S-1180, 

Character of Manuel I., .... 

Anecdotes of his court, .... 

Condition of the empire, 

Conunercial treaties with Venice^ Pisa, and Genoay 

Ruin of the Qreek navy. 

Decay of the military force. 

Expedition against Raymond, prince of Antioch, 

Invasion of Qreeoe by Roger, king of Sicily, 

Thebes and Corinth plundered, . 

Decline of Greece conmiences, . 

Conduct of Bfanuel during the second crusade^ 

Corfu reconquered from the SicilianBy . 

War with the Seryians and Hungarians, 

War with the Venetians, 

War with Antioch and Armenian Cilicia, 

Manuel's second marriage with Maria of Antioch, 

InTasion of £^grpt, .... 

Wars with the Seyook TuriDB, 

Defeat of Manuel at Myriokephalon, 

Death of Manuel, • . • • 

9 4. Reigns of Alexius IL, ▲.!>. 1180-1188, and of AndronicuB L, 1183-1185^ 

Court intrigues, and misconduct of the ruling cliiwofl, 

Andronicus invited to administer the government, 

Murders Alexius IL, . 

Biography of Andronicus Comnenus, • 

Events of his reign. 

His cruelty and tyrannical disposition, . 

Affects justice in his general administration. 

Rebellion of Cyprus, 

Invasion of the empire by the Sicilians, 

Taking of Thessalonica, 

Popular insurrection at Constantinople, 

Murder of Andronicus I., 





§ 1. The reign of Isaac IL (Angelos), i.d. 1185-1195, 
Anarchy at Constantinople^ . . . • 

Worthless character of Isaac II., 
Sicilians expelled the empire, 
Isaac IL pays tribute to the Sultan of Iconium, 
Observations on the Vallachian population in the Byzantine empire^ 
Origin of the Vallachian or second Bnlgarian kingdom. 
Rebellion of Alexius Branas, ... 
Conrad of Montferrat at Constantinople, 
Third Cmsade, ....... 





Conquest of Cypras by Richard I. of England, , . . .291 

Rebellions and conspiracies in the empire, .... 293 

Isaac dethroned by his brother Alezius, .... 296 

§ 2. Reign of Alexius III. (Angelos Comnenus), aj). 1195-1203^ . . 297 

Character of Alexius, ....... 297 

lAYish expenditure of the court, ...... 298 

Venality audjdisorder in the administration, .... 800 

Relations with the Seljouk Turks, ..... 804 

Vallachian war, and assassination of Asan and Peter, the founders of 

the Y tQlftfi^iflTi -'RiilgftriRn kingdom, .... 806 

Relations with western Europe, . . • • • 809 

Alexius, son of Isaac 11., obtains the assistance of the Crusaders and 

Venetians, ........ 811' 

Siege of Constantinople, . . • . • . .318 

Repulse of the Crusaders, and success of the Venetians, . 815 

Alexius III. abandons Constantinople, . . • .816 

§ 3. The conquest of Constantinople, and partition of the Byzantine empire, 

I.D. 1203-1204, 317 

Isaac IL reinstated, with his son Alexius IV. as colleague, .817 

Incapaciiy of both emperors, . . . . . ,318 

Impossibility of satisfying the Crusaders and Venetians, , . 319 

Second conflagration of Constantinople, . • . .821 

Insurrection, death of Isaac II., and murder of Alexius IV., . . 323 

Reign of Alexius V., (Murtzuphlos), . . . ' . » 825 

-Treaty for the conquest and partition of the Byzantine empire, . 327 

Storming and sack of Constantinc^le, .... 38T 

Baldwin, count of Flanders, elected Emperor of Romania, • * 339 

End of the Byzantine empire, . . . .341 




EMPIRB OF NIGLSA — ^A.D. 1204-1261. 

§ 1. Reign of Theodore I. (Lascaris), a.d. 1204-1222, . . .849 

State of society among the Greek population at the time of the conquest 

of Constantinople by the Crusaders, .... 349 

Pfetenders to the empire, ...... 853 

Progress of Theodore I., . . . . , .365 

War with the Crusaders, . ' . . . . . 355 

Wars with rivals, . . . , . . . 858 

Communications with Pope Innocent III., .... 863 

War with the Sultan of Iconium, ..... 865 

War with the Emperor Henry, ..... 867 

Death and character of Theodore I., . • . 370 



8 2. Beigii of John IIL(Diikasyataties),Aj>. 1222-1254, . 

Political poeiiton of the Latin empire at the acoesBion of John III., 

War between John III. and Bobert of Coortenay, 

Adrianople taken by Theodore, emperor of Theasalonica, 

Peace concluded between John IIL and the Emperor Robert, 

Ck)n8piTacy of Nestongos, and rebellion of Rhodea, 

Negotiations for the union of the Greek and Latin churohea, 

John de Brienne attache the empire of Nicna, 

Alliance between John III. and John Aaan, king of Bulgaria, 

Mogul conquests, . . • . • 

Affairs of the empire of Thessalonica, . 

The Emperor Baldwin II. attacks John III., . 

The Emperor of Theasalonica resigns his authority to John IIL, 

Fear of the Moguls, .... 

Bhodes taken by the Genoese and recovered, 

War with Michael IL, despot of Epims, 

Michael Paleologos accused of treason. 

Character of John III., his court and administration, 
§ 3. From the death of John III. to the reooYery of Constantinople by the 
Greeks, ajx 1254-1261, 

Reign of Theodore IL (Lascaris), aj). 1254*1268, 

Character of Theodore IL, 

Anecdote of Acropolita the historian, 

Bulgarian war, . . • • 

Affiurs of Epirus, 

Michael Paleologos governor of Dyrrachium, 

Malady of Theodore IL, and cruelty. 

Death of Theodore n., . 

Reign of John lY., aj>. 1258, 

Intrigues of Michael Paleologos, 

Murder of Musalon, 

Michael YIIL (Paleologos) elected emperor, aj). 

Usurped coronation of Michael YIIL, • 

Position of the empire at Michael's election, 

Decline of the Se^ouk empire, . 

Decline of the Latin empire. 

Decline of the Bulgarian kingdom. 

War in Epims, .... 

Battle of Pebgonia, 

Recovery of Constantinople, 





PALEOLOGOS. — A.D. 1261-1458. 

91. Michael YIII.,A.D.126M282, 429 

Conservative spirit in which the Eastern Empire was restored, 429 

Michael's entry into Constantinople, ..... 482 


Decline of Constantinople, 

Administration of Michael YIIL, 

Establishment of the Genoese in the Qreek empire. 

Treaties with Venice, A.D. 1265-1268, . 

Deposition of John IV., aj). 1261, 

Excommunication of Michael, 

Popular discontent^ .... 

Decline of the Greek population, 

First appearance of the Othoman Turks, 

Re-establishment of Greek influence in the Peloponnesus, 

Treaty of V^terbo, A.D. 1267, 

War in Thessaly, .... 

Treaty of Orvietto, ▲.d. 1281, 

Affiurs of Bulgaria, .... 

State of the Greek church. 

Union of the Greek and Latin churches. 

Death of llichael VIII., 
§ 2. Reign of Andronicus II., A.D. 1282-1328, 

Character of Andronicus IL| 

Ecclesiastical affiurs during his reign. 

Persecutions and schisms in Greek church, 

Council of Adramyttum, aj). 1283, 

Anecdotes of Tarious patriarchs, 

State of the Se^ouk empire, 

Militaiy airangements in Greek empire, 

Conquests of Seljouks in Asia Minor, 

Foundation of the Othoman power. 

Arrival of the Catalan Gr&od Company in the Greek empire, 

Roger de Flor, ..... 

Catalans at Cyzicus, .... 

Campaigns in Asia Minor, a.i>. 1 304-1 305, 

The Grand Company establishes itself at Gallipoli, a.d. 1805, 

AssasBuiation of Roger de Flor, aj>. 1307, 

Catalans declare war with Andronicus, . 

Battle of Apros, aj>. 1307, 

Catalans ravage Thrace, .... 

Departure of the Catalan Grand Company, a.d. 1308, 

Return of the Turkish auxiliaries of the Grand Company, ad. 

Rhodes conquered by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, 

Andronicus the younger. 

First civil war of Andronicus and his grandson, 

Peace of Rhegion, a.d. 1321, 

Second civil war, and peace of Epibates, A.D. 1822, 

Third civil war, and taking of Constantinople, a.d. 1328, 

Death of Andronicus II., 
§ 3. Reign of Andronicus IIL, a.d. 1828-13il, 

Character of Andronicus III., 

Public administration, .... 

Bulgarian war, ..... 

Progress of the Othoman Turks, 






a Servian 

fiatUe of Pelekanon, Aj). 1329, ..... 

Capitulation of Niceea, AJ). 1880, .... 

Bavagea of the Turks in the European provinoea of the empire. 

Wars with Qenoeae nobles in Chios and Phocsea, 

Expeditions into Epirus, ..... 

Death of Andronious IIL, ..... 

§ 4. Reign of John Y. (Poleologoe), a.d. 1841-1391, including the usurpations 

of John Cantacuzeno^ ▲.!>. 1347-1354, and of Andronious, tiie son 

of John v., A.D. 1876-1376, 1879-1381, 

Regency of Anne of Savoy, 

Intrigues of John Cantacuaenos, 

Rebellion of John Gantacuaenos, 

Civil war and campaigns of 1842, 1348, and 1344, 

Murder of Apokaukos, .... 

Devastation caused by the civil war, 

Conquests of Stephen Duahan, king of Servia, who 
empire, .... 

Alliance of Cantacuzenos with Turks, 

Greeks carried off as slaves, 

Gantacuaenos gives his daughter in marriage to Sultan Orkhan, 

Reign of John Gantacuaenos, 

Extent of Qreek empire. 

Internal administration, . 

Seizure of money sent from Russia to repair St Sophia's, 

Increase of taxation— unpopularity of Gantacuaenos, 

Qenoeae war, 1848, 

Recovery of Thessalonica, 

Second Qenoeae war, 1851, 

Civil war with John Y., . 

Gantacuaenos dethroned, 

John Y. sole emperor. 

Relations with Othoman Sultan, 

John Y. joins the papal church, 

John Y. becomes the vaasal of Sultan Murad, 

Rebellion of Andronious, son of John Y., 1876-1876, 

Reign of Andronious and his son John, 1379-1381, 

Greek empire tributary to the Othoman sultan. 

Conquest of Philadelphia, 

Attempt to fortify Constantinople, 

Deathof John Y., 

Depopulation and dilapidation of Constantinople, 
S 6. Rdgn of Manuel II., ajd. 1391-1425, . 

Escape of Manuel IL from Bayezid's court, 

Bayezid attacks the empire. 

Marshal Boucicault brings assistanoe to Manuel, 

Manuel visits western Europe, 

FormatLon of the Othoman power, 

Logiahition of Orkhan, 


Character of the earlier sultans, 






The variety of noes among the Christiaiia aaaisted the Othoman conqueetay 699 

Weakneea of the Qreek empire. • . . • . 600 

Return of Manuel IL to Ckmstantinopley • • . • 601 

Othoman dvil vara, ....... 602 

Mouaa beaieges Constantinople^ • • . . • 604 

Reforms of Manuel ILy ....... 607 

State of Graeoe, . 608 

Murad IL beaiegea Constantinople^ ..... 611 

Death of Manuel IL, 613 

§ 6. Reign of John yL»A.D. 1426-1448, ..... 613 

State of the Greek population in Constantinople, . 614 

John YI. at the Council of Florenoe, ..... 616 

Union of the Greek and Latin chnidieay .... 617 

Rebellion of Demetrius, ...... 618 

Death of John YL, 619 

§ 7. Reign of Constantine XI., a.d. 1448-1458, .620 

Coronation of Conatantine XL, ...... 620 

Character of Mohammed IL, ...... 621 

Impolitic behaviour of Constantine, ..... 622 

Mohammed oonstructa the European oaatle of the Boqthorus, . 623 

Preparations for the siege of Constantinople, .... 624 

Bigotry of the Greeks, ....... 626 

Latin auxiliariea, ....... 629 

Mohammed's preparations, ...... 680 

Number of the Othoman foroea, ..... 633 

Sucoeaa of the Christian shipe in entering Constantinople, . . 636 

Mohammed transports his galleys by land into the port, 638 

Bridge over the port, ..•••.. 638 

Final assault, ........ 689 

Death of the Emperor Constantine XL, .... 643 

Mohammed enters Constantinople, ..... 646 

Fate of the Greek population, . • .646 

Conduct of Justinianl, ....... 647 

Cruelty of the sultan, ....... 648 

Nomination of a Greek patriarch, ..... 650 

Constantinople repeopled as a Turkish city, .661 

Appendix, ......... 668 

Ihdbx, ......... 655 

Additions and Corbxotions to Yol. I. 




A.D. 1067-1204. 



sect. i. — rbion8 of isaac i. (oomnbnds), and of 0on8tantinb x. 



nr THS BrzANTnrs adxiivibtbation — CHAiuarBB akd bxion of Isaac I., 
AJ>. 1057-1059 — Charaotsb and polict of Constantinb X., a.d. 1059-1067 


The contemporaries of Isaac Comnenus believed that 
the Byzantine, or, as they called it, the Roman 
empire, had attained a degree of wealth and power 
which secured it a permanent superiority over every 
other government. A review of the vicissitudes it had 
undergone in the preceding ages, entitled them to look 
forward with confidence to centuries of future pros- 
perity. But to those who study the causes of decline 
in the Byzantine government from a modem point of 
view, the empire presents a very different aspect. To 

, VOL. II. A 


BOOK III. US, it is apparent that the administrative organisation 
''' of the Byzantine state, and the social and religious 
feelings of the popular mind, had already undergone a 
change for the worse. The power of the emperor had 
become more absolute in the capital, by the neglect of 
official education and regular promotion among the 
servants of the state. The arbitrary will of the 
emperor had taken the place of the usages of the 
administration, and courtiers now assumed duties 
which were formerly executed only by weU-trained 
and experienced officials. This increase of arbitrary 
power did not conduce to augment the energy of the 
central government in distant provinces : justice was 
administered with less firmness and equity, and the 
distant population felt fewer benefits from their con- 
nection with the emperor and with Constantinople. 
The concentration of all executive power in the cabinet 
of the sovereign, moreover, caused much important 
business, in which neither the emperor's personal in- 
terest nor authority appeared to be immediately in- 
terested, to be greatly neglected ; for sovereigns, like 
private individuals, look with more attention at what 
relates to their own advantage than at what concerns 
only the public welfare. The repairs of distant ports, 
aqueducts, and roads, the improvement of fix)ntier 
fortifications, and the civil government of improfitable 
possessions, were held to absorb more than a due 
proportion of the funds required to maintain the im- 
perial dignity. The pageants of the palace, of the 
hippodrome, and of the church, became every year 
more splendid, for each emperor wished to surpass his 
predecessors ; and in no branch of the imperial duties 
was it so easy to purchase popular applause. In the 
mean time, the facilities of provincial intercommunica- 
tion and the defence of the frontiers were proportion- 
ably neglected. 


The emperors themselves must be held responsible book m. 
for the decline of the imperial administration in the ^ °' '* * ^ ' 
Byzantine empire. The Basilian dynasty, which mined 
the political edifice, was an inferior race of men to the 
Isaurian princes who repaired it. Basil I. was ignorant 
of civil business, and ill fitted by education to appre- 
ciate the value of the system of which accident consti- 
tuted him the head. Leo VI., Constantine VII., and 
Romanus 11. never appeared as leaders of the Eoman 
armies. It was therefore not unnatural that these 
princes, alarmed by the repeated rebellions^ seditions, 
and conspiracies of the great officers of state and com- 
manders-in-chiel^ should feel extremely jealous of the 
territorial aristocracy, which had secured to themselves 
the possession of the highest posts in the government 
of the empire. In order to avoid the danger of 
intrusting the nobility with official power, these em- 
perors established a board, consisting of their own 
private secretaries^ which controlled the acts of the 
ministers of state; and they gradually filled the highest 
offices in the adjninistration, as well as in the court, 
with persons belonging to their private householda 
Every other object gave way to the importance of 
guarding against revolutions and rebellions ; and as 
the nomination of eimuchs to the highest dignities was 
a considerable security against the frequent attempts 
to change the emperor, which had proved so destruc- 
tive to private property and commercial enterprise, it 
was not unpoptdar among the wealthy and indus- 
trious citizens and agriculturists. As eunuchs were 
incapable of mounting the throne, their interests 
generally led them to guard against revolution, and 
avoid change. Hence it was that they were so fre- 
quently intrusted with the command of large armies 
and important military expeditions; and, what ap- 
pears to modem ideas a degradation of the empire. 


BOOK III. was by contemporaries reffarded as a wise conserva- 
. tive policy. 

The practice of conducting public business through 
the medium of a cabinet of private secretaries, led to 
many evils. Councils of the ministers and great offi- 
cers of state were laid aside, and the authority of 
established usages and systematic rules was diminished. 
Each minister and general received his orders directly 
from the emperor, and communicated with the imperial 
secretary charged with the correspondence of the par- 
ticular department to which the affair in question 
'night relate; and, consequently, subserviency to power 
became the surest means of advancing the fortunes of 
all public servants. Wealth was attained and ambition 
was gratified by affected devotion to the person of the 
emperor, by mean servility to the court favourite, and 
by active intrigue among the members of the imperial 
household, much more surely and rapidly than by at- 
tention to professional duties or by patriotic services. 

This change in the position of the dignitaries of the 
empire enabled the sovereign to intrust the direction 
of the government to the stewards of his household. 
Now, though these men were not trained in the public 
service, yet their previous duties prevented the practice 
from producing so great an amount of public inconve- 
nience as to cause general dissatisfaction. It lowered 
the standard of official attainments, and diminished 
the influence of personal responsibility and high cha- 
racter, but it led immediately to no actual disorder. 
We must recollect that many of the great families in 
the Byzantine empire at this period possessed house- 
holds so numerous as often to count their domestic 
slaves by thousands. Those who maintained such 
establishments in the capital were proprietors of im- 
mense estates in the provinces, and the intendants who 
managed their affairs were consequently trained to 


business in a school which aflforded them as extensive a. d. 
an experience of government as can now be gained by *^^7-io^. 
the individuals who direct the administration of many 
of the German principalities. This fact affords some 
explanation of the capacity for government so generally 
displayed by the aristocracy of the Roman and Byzan- 
tine empires, and of the aptitude shown by eunuchs to 
perform the duties of ministers, and even of generals. 
Both these classes found their sphere of duty enlarged 
and not changed, when from nobles they became em- 
perors, or from stewards ministers of state. But this 
system being opposed to the true basis of society, 
which requires a free circulation in all its classes, had 
a tendency to weaken the body politic. The imperfec- 
tion of our knowledge in relation to the connection 
between social and political science, often prevents our 
tracing the decline of states to their real causes, which 
are probably more firequently moral than political. 

We have seen that the Basilian dynasty transferred 
the direction of public affairs from the aristocracy 
to the stewards of the imperial household. These 
domestics carried on the work of political change by 
filling the public offices with their own creatures, and 
thereby destroying the power of that body of state offi- 
cials, whose admirable organisation had repeatedly saved 
the empire from falling into anarchy under tyrants, or 
from being ruined by peculation under aristocratic in- 
fluence. In this manner the scientific fabric of the 
imperial power, founded by Augustus, was at last 
ruined in the East as it had been destroyed in the West. 
The emperors broke the government to pieces before 
strangers divided the empire. 

The revolution which undermined the systematic 
administration was already consummated before the 
rebellion of the aristocracy placed the imperial crown 
on the head of Isaac Comnenus. No organised body 


BooKni. of trained officials any longer existed to resist the 
culm^i. ^g^ig^j^ pretensions of the new intruders into minis- 
terial authority. The emperor could now make his 
household steward prime-minister, and the governor 
of a province could appoint his butler prefect of the 
police. The church and the law alone preserved some 
degree of systematic organisation and independent 
character. It was not in the power of an emperor to 
make a man a lawyer or a priest with the same ease 
he could appoint him a chamberlain or a minister of 

As it was under the later princes of the Basilian 
period that scientific knowledge ceased to be a requisite 
for official rank, it is from this period that we must 
date the decline of every species of information and 
learning in Byzantine society. The farther we advance 
in this history we shall see that the house of Comnenus 
only pursued the course traced out for the imperial 
government by its predecessors. Basil II. was the last 
emperor of the East who had a really Koman policy, 
and his views were confined too exclusively to military 
affairs. Circumstances henceforward directed the pro- 
gress of events. No future emperor possessed the 
enlarged views or the political capacity necessary to 
arrest the social decay that was destroying the Byzan- 
tine power, nor did any one aspire at the glory of 
giving a new organisation to the imperial government, 
in accordance with the new exigencies of society and the 
altered interests of the various classes of the population. 
One example will sufficiently explain the manner in 
which official ignorance and local seclusion operated in 
destroyingthefoundationsof theintemal administration. 
They rendered the collection of the statistical informa- 
tion, on which the census had been reviewed, extremely 
difficult. For eleven centuries the Boman census had 
been accurately compiled ; and, from the time of Con- 


stantine at least, it had been carefully revised every a. d. 
fifteenth year, in order that necessary reductions and ^ ^" ^ ^' 
modifications of the most injurious imposts might thus 
be forcibly obtruded on the attention of the central 
government. Although the rigid system of dividing 
the subjects of the emperor into classes or castes ceased 
after the fall of the Western Empire, and the Byzantine 
government did not, like the Emperor Augustus, force 
every man to go up to be taxed into his own city, still 
the census continued to be firamed with great minute- 
ness : every proprietor, every individual inhabitant of 
the empire, and every species of property, were inscribed 
in its registers by experienced officials. But when 
whole provinces were depopulated by the ravages of 
the Bulgarians and the Saracens, and extensive districts 
were peopled only by the herdsmen and shepherds of 
large landed proprietors^ like the president Basilios and 
Eustathios Maleinos, the old system of the census was 
necessarily relaxed.^ The great corps of land-surveyors, 
estimators, and assessors, which for ten centuries had 
performed its duties with systematic precision, was first 
diminished, from motives of economy, and then disor- 
ganised by being placed under the orders of ignorant 
and rapacious inspectors, chosen from among the fa- 
vourites of the court. The consequence was, that this 
great branch of the Eoman imperial constitution was 
gradually neglected by statesmen who pretended to 
govern by precedent on conservative principles; and as 
the census was more and more imperfectly executed, 
the central government became constantly more igno- 
rant of its real resources. 

The insecurity of property in the frontier provinces, 
and the ignorance resulting from the secluded life of 
the lower classes on large agricultural estates, reduced 
the judicial establishments of the empire. As communi- 

^ ByaafUiM HuAory, i. 863-370. 


BOOK iiL cations became rarer, the business of the courts of law 
ch^^i. ^ijj^j^igjjQ^ • gjj^^ except in the commercial cities, there 
no longer existed a body of independent lawyers to 
watch the judges, and restrain the exactions of the fiscal 
adminiBtrationandtheterritorialaristocracy. Thejudges 
themselves soon became an inferior class of men, as they 
were no longer able to procure the voluminous and 
expensive law-books required to qualify them for pro- 
nouncing their decisions with promptitude and equity. 
Justice consequently was ill administered, and the 
people in the distant provinces became more inclined 
to seek protection from the great landed aristocracy of 
their immediate neighbourhood, than tolook,asformerly, 
to the emperor alone for security and justice. The spell, 
which had so long, and under so many vicissitudes, 
connected the people with the central authority, was 
thus broken. 

In this general decline of civilisation, while the roads 
were falling to decay and the population decreasing, 
it seems strange that the revenues of the Byzantine 
empire continued almost undiminished. This circum- 
stance resulted from two causes. The ruin of the power 
of the caliphs removed a commercial rival in Asia, and 
the improvement in the condition of the people through- 
out Europe created additional markets for the com- 
merce of the East and the manufactures of the Byzan- 
tine cities ; at the same time, the abimdant supply of 
the precious metals, which for about two centuries had 
aided in sustaining the power of the emperor, stiQ con- 
tinued. Though it is difficult to trace from what 
sources this supply flowed, the fact itself is well estab- 

The army, next to the finances, was the basis on 
which the emperors rested their power. The depopu- 
lation of the agricultural districts, and the high price 
of labour in the manufacturing and commercial cities, 

ISAAC I., A.D. 1057. 9 

rendered the Byzantine ffovemment more dependent a. n. 

on foreign mercenaries in the eleventh and twelfth _J ' 

centuries than it had been in the ninth and tentL At 
the same time, the rapid advances which the population 
of the other European nations was now making in 
wealth and civilisation rendered it more diffictdt than 
formerly for the emperors to purchase the military 
services of the best European warriors. From this 
period the Byzantine armies begin to be inferior to 
those of the western nations ; their military system 
was conservative, while that of the western nations 
was progressive. The Normans were already superior 
to the Byzantine troops in valour and endurance, and 
ahnost their equals in tactics and science : they soon 
became their superiors in every military accomplish- 
ment, science, and virtue. 

The reign of Isaac Comnenus, though short, proves 
that he was a man of no ordinary powers of mind.* 
He saw clearly the downward tendency of Byzantine 
affairs, and he made a vigorous effort to arrest their 
descent. His education had afforded him the oppor- 
tunity of becoming acquainted with the whole fabric 
of the government, and his natural talents enabled him 
to profit by the advantages of his position. Hence, 
although he was placed on the throne as the leader of 
an aristocratic revolution, his policy was to preserve 
and not to alter the ancient system of administration. 
His father, Manuel Comnenus^ had been a favourite 

^ From the accession of Isaac ComDenus to the conquest of Constantinople 
by the Crusaders, the Byzantine aunals possess a more authentic character 
than in the period between Coustantiue VII. and the extinction of the Basilian 
dynasty. There are now several contemporary historians. John Scylitsos, 
who was a native of the Thrakesian theme, and held successively the offices of 
protovcstiarios, drungarios of the watch, and curopnlates, may be considered 
as a contemporary for the history of the period from the accession of Isaac I. 
to that of Alexius I. Anna Comnena gives us her father's reign. Cinnamus, 
who was imperial secretary of Manuel I., gives us the reign of John II. and 
nearly the whole of that of Manuel. Ajid Nicetas, who held the offices of 
logothetes and governor of Philippopolis, was a witness of the storming of 
Constantinople by the Crusaders. His history embraces the period from the 
accession of John II. to the establishment of the Latin empire of Romania. 


BOOK III. officer of the Emperor Basil II. ; and, when he died, that 
^'^^^ ' prince had undertaken the guardianship of his two sons, 
Isaac and John.^ They received the best education 
which the age aflforded in the monastery of Studion, 
and Isaac commenced his career of public service in 
the emperor's body-guard. Under the eye of the 
indefatigable Basil he learned the steady application to 
business and the active warlike habits of that prince ; 
but with these virtues he acquired also something of 
the grave, melancholy, and inflexible character of his 

The powerful partisans who had raised him to the 
throne naturally shared the principal dignities of the 
empire among themselves ; but Isaac, in as far as he 
was able, conferred on them rewards which induced 
them to quit the capital, and leave him free to direct 
the central administration without their interference.^ 
Katakalon received the office of curopalates, which was 
also conferred on the emperor's brother John Com- 
nenus^ in whose person it was united with that of 
megas domestikos^ or commander of the forces. The 
support of the patriarch Michael Keroularios, whose 
boldness and activity made him an important ally, was 
purchased by an imprudent augmentation of his poli- 
tical power. The right of nominating the grand eco- 
nomus or chancellor, and the skevophylax or treasurer 
of the church of St Sophia^ had been hitherto vested in 
the emperor, who now resigned it to the ambitious 

The dilapidated state of the finances, caused by the 
extravagant expenditure of Constantine IX. (and in- 
deed of most of the emperors who had filled the throne 
since the death of Basil IL, all of whom had wasted 

*■ Manuel, who defended NicsBa against Bardas Skleros, is called Erotikos by 
CedrenuB, 690, and Zonaras, ii. 217, but his fiunily name was Comnenus, as 
appears from Nioephorus Bryenuius, 16. 

' Zonaras, ii. 268. 


immense sums in gifts to their favourites, in courtly a. d. 

splendour, and in ecclesiastical buildings), called for _J ' 

Isaac's immediate attention, and Ids first care was to 
reform the administration of the public revenua He 
annulled the grants of the state domains made by the 
successors of Basil 11. to private individuals, and re- 
sumed the sums affected for the foundation and main- 
tenance of a number of monasteries in which the monks 
were living together rather like clubs of wealthy bache- 
lors than as holy societies of virtuous cenobites. To 
each monastery the emperor made an allowance of a 
pension, fixed according to the number of the monks by 
which it was tenanted. This reduction of the wealth 
of men who in many cases had sought retirement to 
enjoy luxurious ease, very naturally excited much dis- 
sati^action among the higher classes, to whom the 
monasteries had been useful by affording the means of 
providing for near relations in a becoming manner 
without expense ; but John Scylitzes, the best historian 
of this period, who himself attaiued the rank of euro- 
palates, approves of the conduct of Isaac in curtailing 
the incomes of the monks.^ The emperor also carried 
his reforms into his own court by fjiminishing the 
expenditure of the imperial household, and abolishing 
many pensions conferred on senators, nobles, and cour- 
tiers, as a matter of favour, without their having any 
duties to perform. Whenever the arbitrary wiU of 
individuals can influence government, there is a great 
difficulty in preventing the unnecessary accumulation 
of high-paid and useless titled functionaries. Courtiers 
receive military rank for which they have no qualifica- 
tion, and without any reference to the numbers of the 
army or navy. The reforms by which Isaac sought to 
eradicate these abuses offended a considerable body of 
idle courtiers in the capital, who were enjoying the 

^ Scylitses, printed at the end of Cedrenus, 808. 


BOOK III. fruits of severe impositions wrung from the provinces, 
jJli-^ and he was assailed with murmurs of dissatisfaction. 
The poor had too many causes of suffering, which the 
emperor could do nothing to relieve, to have derived 
any immediate benefit from these reforms, or felt any 
gratitude to the reformer. Isaac, indeed, adopted his 
improvements for the purpose of rendering the public 
establishments of the empire more efficient, and with- 
out any view of dinniniflhing the weight of the public 
burdens. Every report to his disadvantage was eagerly 
circulated among the ecclesiastics and the courtiers ; 
they were disseminated among the people, and have 
coloured the views of historians concerning his charac- 
ter and policy. Every Byzantine writer cites as a 
proof of his unboimded arrogance that he changed the 
type of the gold coinage of the empire, and impressed 
on it his own figure, with a drawn sword in his right 
hand, — ^thereby, as they pretend, ascribing his elevation 
to the throne, not to the grace of God, but to his own 

The emperor vainly endeavoured to quiet the turbu- 
lent and ambitious disposition of the patriarch by 
bestowing offices of honour and profit on his nephews ; 
the demands of the proud priest grew daily more exor- 
bitant and his language more insolent. When Isaac 
at length refused his requests, he indignantly exclaimed 
to his followers, " I made him an emperor, and I can 
unmake him.'' ^ He proclaimed himself the equal of 
his sovereign by wearing the red boots which the 
severe ceremonial of the Byzantine court had set apart 
as one of the distinctive ensigns of the imperial power. 
This assumption was really equivalent to an act of 

* A representation of this coin may be iseen in Saulcy — Baai de Cfa$rijica' 
tion de» SwUa Monitairfs Byzantines, planche xxiv. 4. Scylitzes, 807. Zonaras, 
il 268, versified by Epbrseniius, 140, v. 3230. 

' The patriarch used a vulgar proverb — '' Oven, I built]you, and I can knock 
you down.'* 


rebellion against the civil power: and when the patri- a. n. 

arch was reproached with his pretensions, he defended _J ' 

his conduct by declaring that there was little or no 
difference between an emperor and a patriarch, except 
in so far as the ecclesiastical dignity was more honour- 
able. As such insolence could not be safely tolerated, 
the emperor determined to depose Michael Keroularios 
and appoint a new patriarch; but as it appeared dan- 
gerous to take any measures openly against the head 
of the church in the capital, Isaac watched for an op- 
portunity to arrest Michael when he quitted the city 
to perform an ecclesiastical ceremony without the walls 
on the feast of the Holy Apostles. The patriarch was 
then taken into custody by a company of Varangians, 
and transported to the island of Proconnesus. Pre- 
parations were going on to depose him in a synod con- 
voked for the purpose, when his death relieved the 
emperor from all trouble, and enabled him to name the 
president Constantinos Leichudes as his successor, who, 
though a layman, was elected by the metropolitans, the 
clergy, and the people, in regular form.-^ The high 
reputation of Leichudes rendered his nomination popu- 
lar. For a long time he had been the principal minis- 
ter of the Emperor Constantine IX., and his prudent 
administration was supposed to have averted many of 
the evil consequences with which that prince's vices 
threatened the empire. 

An invasion of the Hungarians and Patzinaks sud- 
denly summoned Isaac to the northern frontier in the 
summer of 1059. When he reached Triaditza, the 
Hungarians and the greater part of the Patzinaks 
retired, and concluded a treaty of peace. Selt^ alone, 
one of the four chiefs who had conducted the famous 
retreat of the Patzinak auxiliaries &om Asia Minor 

* SeylitzeB, 809. For the chronology, see Cuper de Patriarchis Constan., 
126, who justly retains that of Baroniua in prefereuoe to Pagi. 


BOOK III. across the Bosphorus in 1049, refused to agree to any 
'' terms, and carried on the war from the fastnesses he 
held on the banks of the Danube. He was, however, 
soon defeated, and his stronghold destroyed; but while 
the Byzantine army lay encamped near Lobitza, which 
had been fortified by Selt6 as a stronghold in the time 
of Constantino IX,^ a sudden autumnal storm broke 
over the camp with fearful violence ; men and horses 
were swept away by the torrents, and the tents were 
blown down. The emperor sought shelter under a 
magnificent old oak, where he was leaning against the 
trunk when a sudden noise behind induced him to 
withdraw a few paces in astonishment. His wonder 
was soon increased by a terrific clap of thunder, and 
the mighty oak against which he had been leaning fell 
all around, shivered to pieces. The communications of 
the army were interrupted by the snow for a few days, 
and the troops were in danger of starvation. This 
storm having occurred on the 24th of September, which 
is the feast of St Thekla, the emperor, as soon as he 
returned to Constantinople, dedicated a chapel in the 
palace of Blachem to this saint, whose especial protec- 
tion he believed had saved him from death. ^ 

Not long after his return to Constantinople, the 
emperor was suddenly attacked by a dangerous illness 
as he was hunting on the shores of the Bosphorus. 
Michael Psellos, whose treachery had aided him in 
mounting the throne, records that his malady was an 
attack of pleurisy ; but Scylitzes adopts the opinion 
generally current among the people, that the disease 
had a miraculous origin.^ Isaac was as passionately 
devoted to the chase as any of his predecessors^ or as 
any Norman king. As he was pursuing a wild boar 
of monstrous aspect, the grim animal directed its 

^ Cedrentus, 780. ' Anna Comnena, 89. Scylitsas, 810. 

3 Zonarasy iL 271. Soylitses, 811. Kicephonis Biyonuius, 18. 


course straight to the sea^ and vanished in the waters 
of the Bosphorus. In disappearing, it shadowed forth 
a demoniacal form, and a flash of lightning threw the 
emperor senseless from his horse. He was taken up 
in an alarming state by his attendants, and transported 
in a boat to the imperial palace. His life was for some 
time in danger ; and believing himself to be on the 
point of death, he assiuned the monastic garb, and 
selected as his successor Constantine Ducas, the man 
he deemed best able to restore order in the adminis- 
tration from his financial skill To enable the empire 
to profit by the services of the man best suited to its 
circumstances, Isaac set aside his own brother John ; 
yet he was deceived in his choice.^ He recovered from 
his iUness ; but, when restored to health, he showed no 
regret that he had resigned the throne, and retired into 
the monastery of Studion, where he had received his 
education, performing all the duties of the humblest 
monk, and taking his turn to act as porter at the gate. 
His wife Eatherine, a princess of the Bulgarian royal 
family, confirmed him in his pious resolutions, and 
retired also from the world with her daughter Maria.^ 
After the death of Isaac, his wife celebrated the anni- 
versary of his decease by an annual religious ceremony, 
at which she made a liberal distribution of alms. On 
one occasion she ordered the sum to be doubled, and 
when it was observed that the liberality was too great 
for her fortune, she replied, '^ Perhaps these gifts may 
be the last I can bestow.'' Her presentiment was soon 

^ Oibbon adopts the statement of Nicepborns Biyennins, 18, tbat John re- 
fused the imperial crown; but it appears to be merely a flourish of funily 
pride, for Scyiitses expressly declares that Isaac set aside his brother. 

' Nioeph. Bryen., 17, says that Katheiine was the eldest daughter of Samuel, 
kingof Achrida; but Samuel died forty-five years before Isaac resigned his 
crown.—See Ducange,' Fam. Aug. Bygantinas, 171. Cedrenus, 716, mentions 
that when the two daughters of Samuel were presented to Basil IL, they saw 
Maria, the widow of Ladislas, who had murdered their brother, standing near 
the emperor, and rushing at her to beat her in the imperial presence, were 
hardly persuaded to restrain their yiolenoe even by Basil. This seems very 
unlike Eatherine, the wife of Isaac Comnenus. 

Ju D. 



BOOK in. verified, and her last Bolenm command was that her 

^ '*' ' body should be interred in the cemetery of Studion as 

a simple nun, without any sign to indicate that she 

was bom a Bulgarian princess and had been a Roman 


Constantine X. displayed on the throne little of the 
talent which Isaac I. had supposed him to possess.^ 
He had appeared an able minister as long as his con- 
duct was directed by an energetic superior, but on the 
throne he acted as an avaricious pedant. He declared 
that he valued his learning more than his empire, and 
his reign must have convinced his subjects that his 
intellect fitted him for composing orations according 
to the rules of rhetoric rather than for governing men 
according to the dictates of justice. Avarice and 
vanity directed his whole conduct as emperor ; natur- 
ally sluggish, he hardly thought seriously on any sub- 
ject but how to increase the receipts of the imperial 
treasury, and how to display his own eloquence. To 
satisfy the first, he augmented the weight of taxation 
by selling the public income to farmers of the revenue, 
who used every exaction to augment their profits ; 
and to give his people an opportunity of appreciating 
his eloquence, he sate as a civil judge when he ought 
to have been performing the duties of a sovereign. 
Yet even in his judicial capacity he constantly violated 
the laws, from a blind confidence in his own discern- 
ment, which led him to believe that he could measure 
out equity to individuals in opposition to the general 
principles of the law. 

To save money, he reduced the army, neglected to 
supply the troops with arms, artillery, and warlike 

^ Coastantine X. was not descended from a male branch of the ancient 
family of DucaB, which became extinct after the revolt during the minority of 
Constantine VIX. He was descended from a female line, and his family was 
generally called Doukitzes, to mark the inferiority of the modem house which 
had assumed the name of Duces.— Zonaras, ii. 272. 


stores, and left the fortifications on the frontiers unre- a. a 

paired and the garrisons unpaid. Isaac had cleared _; ' 

away an accumulation of brevet oflSicers receiving high 
pay ; Constantine X. reinstated many of these in their 
previous rank, to form a heavy and useless burden on 
the military establishment of the empire. He also 
made great promotions among the senators, municipal 
officers, and heads of corporations in Constantinople, in 
order to secure a strong body of partisans in the capi- 
tal. For the same purpose, while he weakened the 
numerical strength of the army by neglecting to 
recruit the native legions, he liberally provided for the 
Varangian guard in the capital, on whose attachment 
his own personal security depended.^ 

The fate of the population of the Byzantine empire 
was now decided by the personal character of the 
emperor. The avarice of Constantine Ducas caused 
the ruin of the Christian inhabitants of great part of 
Asia Minor. The decline of the Byzantine power at 
this period has been very erroneously attributed to a 
decided military superiority on the part of the Seljouk 
Turks, to the great ability of Alp Arslan, and to the 
rashness of Bomanus IV. (Diogenes) ; but the events of 
the reign of Constantine X. prove that it was the con- 
sequence of his acts. His avarice caused the loss of 
the two fortresses which defended the frontiers of the 
empire in the east and the west, Ani and Belgrade ; 
and he allowed the independent Armenians to be com- 
pletely subjugated by the Mohammedans without an 
efibrt in their favour. These warlike mountaineers 
had long formed an impregnable barrier against the 
progress of the Mohammedan powers. The difficulty 
the great Sultan Alp Arslan met with, in breaking 

^ Scylitees, 822. A proof is afforded by the insurrection of the Varangians, 
on the marriage of Endooia with Romanus Diogenes. Some tales recorded in 
the history of Armenia attest the general reputation of Constantine X. for 



BOOK III. through their country, even though he was aided by 
cn^^i. ^^j^j.^^ discord, fomented by the ecclesiastical intrigues 
of the Byzantine court, proves that a small imperial 
army might have repuls^ the Seljouk Turks from the 
fortified cities of Armenia, and secured the indepen- 
dence of the Christian tribes who occupied the laby- 
rinths of the Caucasian and Armenian mountains, 
thereby preventing the Turks from reaching the Byzan- 
tine frontier. 

It has been already noticed that the policy of the 
Byzantine court, under the Basilian dynasty, was hos- 
tile to Armenian independence, and it has been men- 
tioned that the destruction of the Armenian kingdom 
had thrown open the Byzantine possessions in Asia 
Minor to the invasions of the Seljouk Turks. Con- 
stantine X. made the Byzantine policy of imiting all 
Christians under the imperial government and the 
Greek church a pretext for gratifying his avarice, by 
refiising aid to the independent Christians of Iberia 
and Armenia. He pretended that it would be impo- 
litic to aid those who refused to become vassals of the 
empire, and criminal to support those who were 
opposed to the orthodox church. Basil II. had appar- 
ently united the greater part of the Armenian clergy 
to the Greek church, but in reality he only destroyed 
the independence of the nation ; and the very circum- 
stances which aided his conquests weakened the defen- 
sive power of the imperial government on their newly- 
acquired frontier. 

It is important to observe the precise position of the 
country peopled by the Armenian race at the time of 
the Seljouk irruption into Asia Minor, in order to 
understand how the Byzantine government was so 
easily deprived of some of the richest and most popu- 
lous provinces of the empire. The emperors of Con- 
stantinople had suffered far greater losses at the periods 


when Heraclius and Leo III. mounted the throne, and a. d. 
yet both these princes restored to the empire no incon- '^^7^7. 
siderable portion of its ancient power and glory ; but 
the blow now inflicted by the Seljouk Turks, or the ava- 
rice of Constantine X., proved an immedicable wound. 
In the year 1016, as has been already noticed, Armenia 
was first invaded by this new race of conquerors, whose 
descendants form at the present day the most numer- 
ous part of the population of the Ottoman empire in 
Asia Minor. Sennacherib, the prince of Yaspourakan, 
ceded his possessions to Basil II., and received in ex- 
change an appanage in Cappadocia, including the cities 
of Sebaste, Larissa^ and Abara.^ In the year 1022, 
Basil II. forced John, king of Armenia, to make the 
cession of his dominions after his death, which Con- 
stantine IX. compelled Gaghik to carry into execution 
by surrendering Ani in 1045. Gaghik received as an 
appanage a territory on the frontiers of Cappadocia, 
including the cities of Bizou, Ehorzen, and Lykandos. 
The power of the kings of Iberia was also curtailed 
about the same time. They were compelled to cede 
the southern portion of their dominions to Liparites, 
an Orpelian prince, who was taken prisoner by the 
Turks at the battle of ILapetrou, and released by 
TogrouL^ Liparites was subsequently murdered by 
Bagrat, the king of Iberia, and the whole of Georgia 
and Abasgia were again reunited.* Ivand, the son of 
Liparites, retired into the empire, and received from 
the Emperor Isaac I. an appanage at Archamouni, near 

The Seljouks continued their attacks on Armenia 
during the reigns of Theodora, Michael VI., and Isaac 
L, and the ravages they committed drew the serious 

^ CedreniiB, 711, fixee this event in 1016 ; bat Saint Martin, MSmoira iur 
CArmenie,l 868, places it in 1021. 
' See volume L, page 523. 
' Saint Martin, ifimwret tur VAmunie, ii. 230. 


BOOK III. attention of the Byzantine govemment to the eastern 
!llJL' frontier. At the accession of Constantine X. it was 
evident that the emperor, who was in possession of the 
greater part of Armenia, must undertake the defence 
of the whole country, or great part would fall into the 
hands of the Mohammedans. The principalities of 
Kars and Lorhi, and the kingdom of Iberia (Georgia), 
were unable to resist the Turks, if left to their own 
unassisted resources.^ The ambition of Ivane, the son 
of Liparites, opened the passes of the Armenian moun- 
tains to the enemies of his country and religion. Dis- 
satisfied with his appanage in the empire, he endea- 
voured to render himself master of the neighbouring 
district of Karin, and involved himself in hostilities 
with the imperial authorities. In order to secure allies 
capable of protecting him, he connected himself with 
the Seljouk Turks, and guided the plundering incur- 
sions of the Mohammedan armies. In the mean time 
the Emperor Constantine X., instead of reinforcing his 
troops in Armenia, and establishing order within his 
own frontier by seizing Ivan6, occupied himself exclu- 
sively with the project of effecting a union of the 
Byzantine and Armenian churches, which he endea- 
voured to render a profitable undertaking for his trea- 
sury.2 The disorders on the frontier were allowed to 
increase, as a means of depressing the nobility and 
clergy hostile to the union, or able to offer some resis- 
tance to the fiscal oppression of the Byzantine court. 
The unjust proceedings of the imperial govemment 
and the Greek clergy, in their infatuated zeal for poli- 
tical and ecclesiastical unity, augmented the reli^ous 

^ The kings of Ani or of Armenia, as tbey are usually called from having 
been the most distinguished of the Armenian princes, the kings of Iberia or 
Geoi^pa, and the sovereigns of Ears and of Lorhi, or Armenian Albania, were 
all descendants of the Bagratian family. The princes of Vaspourakan were 
Ardarounians, to which family the Emperor Leo V. belonged.— Saint Martin, 
i. 418; Chamich, IL 1. 

■ Chamich, Hitt&ry of Armenia, ii. 147. 


bigotry of the Greek and Armenian people, and sowed a. d. 
the seeds of a deep-rooted national animosity. The ^ ^^"*"^ ^- 
calamities of the independent Armenian Christians 
were regarded as gain to the orthodox church, and the 
emperor fomented civil dissensions among the warriors 
who formed the strongest barrier of his own provinces 
against the incursions of the Mohammedans. 

In the year 1060, while the affairs of Armenia were 
in this disturbed state, the armies of Togroul Beg 
invaded the empire on the Mesopotamian frontier, and 
laid siege to Edessa. The attack was repulsed by the 
activity of Vest Katchadour, an Armenian who com- 
manded at Antioch, in Cilicia ; but the Seljouks soon 
renewed their invasion, and a body of their troops 
advanced as far as Sebaste, which was taken by assault, 
and plundered for the space of eight days. The fol- 
lowing year they surprised the town of Arkni, a fron- 
tier fortress of the Mesopotamian theme.^ The Byzan- 
tine general of the district, and a foreign officer named 
Frangopoulos, with the troops stationed at Edessa, 
made an attempt to revenge this loss, by attacking the 
Turkish fortress of Amida, but were defeated in their 

In the year 1063, Alp Arslan, who had succeeded his 
imcle Togroul as great sultan, commenced his expedi- 
tions against the Christians, by leading his army in per- 
son into Iberia and the northern parts of Armenia. He 
compelled David, the Bagratian prince of Lorhi, to give 
him a daughter in marriage, and laid waste the kingdom 
of Iberia in the crudest manner, for it was the policy of 
the Turks to depopulate the country they desired to 
subdue. The desolation of the hitherto rich and well- 
cultivated regions of Iberia, which had been long cele- 
brated for the industry of the inhabitants, the wealth 

^ The Byaintixie writen make no meution of the loss of the mines near 
Arkni or Arghana. 


BOOK ra. of its numerous towns, and the valour of its warlike 
chj^i. p^p^g^^^Qj^ jg ^Q ^ dated from the destructive ravages 
of Alp Arslan. The country was compelled to submit 
to the great sultan ; and though the authority of the 
Turks was never very firmly established, these invaders 
gradually rendered Iberia, which at the commencement 
of the eleventh century was the happiest portion of 
Asia, a scene of poverty and depopulation. 

When the spirit of the Greorgians was broken, Alp 
Arslan marched to attack Ani, the capital of Armenia, 
now garrisoned by a Byzantine force under Bagrat, an 
Armenian general in the Byzantine service. Ani was 
situated on a rocky peninsula overhanging the rapid 
stream of the Rha, the ancient Harpassus. A deep 
ravine joining the bed of this river protected the city 
on the west. The base of the triangle on which it stood 
looked towards the north, and was the only side by 
whiQh the fortifications could be approached. The ruins 
of the massive walls that defended the city in this 
direction still exist to the height of forty feet, attesting 
the importance of the place, and the wealth and military 
skill of the Armenian kings who fortified it in the tenth 
century. The position of Ani was strong, and its forti- 
fications solid, but the army of Alp Arslan was nume- 
rous, and well provided with all the warlike machines 
then used in sieges ; the people detested the Byzantine 
government so much as to be indifierent to their fate, 
while the spirit of the garrison was depressed by a con- 
viction that the Emperor Constantine would be induced 
by avarice to abandon them to their own unassisted 
resources. Ani nevertheless made a gallant defence, 
and, refusing to capitulate, was taken by storm on the 
6th of June 1064.^ 

^ There is aQ intereeting account of the rains of Ani in Hamilton's JRe$earckei 
%» Ana Minor, Pontut, and Armenia, i. 197. For the history of this capital of 
Armenia, see Saint Martin, M^moiret iur VArmenie, i 1 12. There was anothei' 
fortress called AnL^Saint Martin, i. 72. 


After the conquest of Ani, Gaghik, the Bagratian a. d. 
prince of Ears, made the humblest submission to the ^ ^^^"^"^ ^' 
victor, and was allowed to retain his dominions as a 
vassal ; but he felt his position under the Mohamme- 
dans to be so insecure, that he availed himself of the 
return of Alp Arslan into Persia to cede his territories 
to the Byzantine emperor, who gave him in exchange 
the city of Tzamandos with its neighbourhood as an 
appanage.^ This transaction removed the last of the 
Armenian princes from his native coimtry, and was 
followed by an immense emigration of the people into 
the provinces of the empire lying to the west and south 
of their ancient seats. Adom and Abousahl, the sons 
of Sennacherib, held Sebaste; Gaghik, king of Ani, re- 
sided at Bizou ; and Gaghik, prince of Kars, now took up 
his residence at Tzamandos. Whatever might have 
been the project of the Byzantine court in effecting 
these strange translocations on the Armenian frontier, 
they appear to have failed. The duration of these 
vassal establishments was short and troubled, but from 
their relics, and from the colonies of Armenian emi- 
grants, a new independent Armenian kingdom arose in 
Cilicia^ which occupied a prominent part in history 
during the earlier crusades.^ 

During the campaigns of Alp Arslan in Georgia and 
Armenia^ several small armies of Turks invaded the 
provinces of Mesopotamia, Chaldia, Melitene, and Ea- 
loneia. They plundered the open coimtry, putting all 
the armed men to the sword, and carrying off the 
younger inhabitants for the Mohammedan slave-marts. 

^ Chamich, IL 158, says Oaghik exchanged Vanand, of which Kara is the 
capital, for the citiee of Amasia, Gomaoa, Laiiaaa, and the fortreas of Zamindav 
(Tzamandos), besides one hundred Tillages. He would in this case have been 
a great gainer by the invasion of Alp Arslan, but it is not necessary to say that 
this IS an idle exaggeration. Oaghik was murdered l»y the Bysantinee in 1080. 

' For the foundation of the Reubenian or Boupenian kingdom of Cilicia, see 
Chamichy ii 165 ; Saint Martin, i 388. For the coins, Broaset, BulUtin de 
PAcadimie de Sainl Petenbowrg, vi. 8, 4; Sibi^aOy BeBokeUmng eon XTii 
unedirUn MUnzen der AnMnitok-IiubcniiAeH DywuUi in KUikien : Wien, 1862. 


BOOK ni. Whenever large bodies of Byzantine troops could be 
L!i_ assembled to oppose them, they avoided an engagement, 
and effected a rapid retreat. The plan by which they 
expected to render themselves masters of the provinces 
they invaded, was to exterminate the cultivators of the 
soil in the extensive plains, in order to leave the 
country in a fit state to be occupied by their own no- 
madic tribes. The villages, farm-houses, and planta- 
tions were everywhere burned down, and the wells 
were often filled, in order that all cultivation might be 
confined to the immediate vicinity of fortified towns. 
By this policy they soon rendered agricultural property 
in many extensive districts of Asia Minor so insecure, 
that whole provinces were left vacant for their occupa- 
tion before the Seljouk power was able to conquer the 
cities. So boldly did they pursue these ravages, that 
Scylitzes records incursions of Seljouk bands even into 
Galatia, Honorias, and Phrygia during the reign of Con- 
stantine X.^ 

About the time the fortress of Ani was irretrievably 
lost, the equally important city of Belgrade, which 
served as the bulwark of the western provinces, was 
allowed to fall into the hands of the Hungarians 
without an effort on the part of the emperor to save 
it. Solomon, king of Hungary, seeing the unprotect- 
ed state of the Byzantine frontier in Europe, made 
the plundering incursions of some brigands from Bul- 
garia a pretext for commencing hostilities and laying 
siege to Belgrade. The garrison defended the place 
for three months ; but when it appeared that the em- 
peror's avarice would prevent his making any attempt 
to raise the siege, the place capitulated. Hungarian 
history boasts of several victories obtained over the 
imperial troops who attempted to relieve Belgrade, but 

^ ScyUtses,8U. 


the Byzantine writers are silent even concerning its ▲. d. 
capture.1 ^^flll!^- 

The year after the loss of Ani, the Ouzes or Uzes, a 
nomade tribe of Turkish origin, whom the Byzantine 
historians call a more noble and numerous race than 
the Fatzinaks, invaded the European provinces of the 
empire.^ This people appears to have first entered the 
territory of the Fatzinaks as Mends, and to have lived 
among them as allies ; but in a short time they became 
engaged in the fiercest hostilities, from the impossibility 
of fixing any settled firontiers for nomade tribes in the 
immense plains to the north of the Black Sea. At this 
period some accidental circumstance impelled an im- 
mense body of the Uzes to emigrate, and enabled them 
to pass through the centre of the Fatzinak territory to 
the banks of the Danube, where they soon assembled 
boats and rafts in sufficient numbers to cross the river. 
The military force of the invaders amounted to sixty 
thousand men^ and two generals, Basilias Apokapes and 
Nicephorus Botaneiates,^ who commanded the garrisons 
on the Danube, hastening to oppose their advance, were 
defeated and taken prisoners. The Uzes then divided 
their army, in order to extend their plundering incur- 
sions over a greater space. One division advanced to 
the vicinity of Thessalonica, and sent forward parties 
who extended their ravages even into Greece.^ But 
the abundance in which the barbarians revelled during 
the autumn soon spread disease in their ranks ; and 
the ease with which they had penetrated into every 

^ Bonfin, de RA, Hwmricii, dec. iL 1. 8 ; Lebean, HiUoire du Ba»-^mpir€, 
xiT. 448. 

' The Uzes are ooxisidered to be a branch of the Ohouces, who figure in the 
history of the S^^jonk Soltane of Persia. The Usee were also termed Pkwzer 
or Polowzer, ValYi or Fslones. On this subject, see Hammer, Hittoire de V Em- 
pire OMoflUM, L 22, and his authorities ; lUmusat, Rech&nku tur In Lamtfwe 
Tatiarea, 820 ; Schaffiurik, 8l<Mfi9eh4 AUerthUmer, iL 640. 

> Zonaras, iL 273. ScyUtaes, 815, says 600,000. 
' The future emperor, Nioephoms UI. 
S^ylitaes, 816 ; Zonaras, u. 274. 


BOOK III. province made them negligent of military precautions- 
chm^i. rjTj^^ consequence was that their dispersed bands were 
everywhere attacked, and they lost all the booty they 
had collected When the severity of winter weakened 
them still farther, the mountaineers of Haemus ven- 
tured to harass their main body, which was at last 
hemmed in on all sides by enemies. 

The Emperor Constantine remained an inactive spec- 
tator of the ruin of the European provinces, and only 
availed himself of the reverses of the invaders and the 
successes of the mountain tribes of his subjects to nego- 
tiate with the leaders of the Uzes, and secure their 
retreat with the smallest expenditure of money. At 
lastj however, the complaints of the people of Constan- 
tinople against his avarice and cowardice became so 
loud as to threaten a revolution, and the emperor felt 
the necessity of marching out of the capital as if he 
intended to put himself at the head of an army. After 
holding a solemn fast, he proceeded to the town of 
ChoirobacchuS) on the road to Adrianople, attended 
only by a guard of one hundred and fifty men. 
Shortly afiier his arrival at that place, it was officially 
announced to him by a courier from the army that the 
principal body of the Uzes was completely dispersed. 
One division, which had advanced as far as Tzourla, 
had been overwhelmed by the Byzantine troops, while 
those near the Danube had been cut oflf by the com- 
bined attacks of the Bulgarian nulitia and the Pat- 
zinaks. There can be no doubt that the Emperor Con- 
stantine X. was aware of these circumstances before he 
quitted the capital ; but he affected to receive the intel- 
ligence as unexpected, and attributed the successes to his 
own piety and rigid fasts, not to the discipline of his 
army, or the valour of his subjects and allies. The 
heavenly host, hired by prayers instead of byzants, was 
said to have fought like ordinary mercenaries, and slain 


the Uzes with the usual weapons. The manner in a. d. 

which they received payment was peculiarly gratifying _^ ^' 

to the disposition of Constantine X. According to the 
usual policy of the Byzantine court, which sought to 
maintain a balance of power not only among the rival 
nations beyond the frontier, but even among the vari- 
ous races of its own subjects, the survivors of the Uzes 
were established as colonists on public lands in Mace- 
donia. No fact can establish more strongly the anti- 
Greek spirit of the Byzantine government at this period 
than the notices we find of this colony of Turks. They 
soon adopted the Christian religion, and were treat^ 
with great favour by the emperors, for their isolated 
position rendered them more devoted partisans of the 
central authority, and of the personal power of the 
emperors, than native subjects. Some of their leading 
men were honoured with the rank of senators, and rose 
to the highest dignities in the state.^ Their national 
feeings proved, however, at times stronger than their 
Christianity or their Boman civilisation, so that when 
a body of these Uzes in the army of Bomanus lY. was 
opposed to a kindred tribe of Turks in the army of 
Alp Arslan, before the battle of Mauzikert, they de- 
serted to the sultan, and joined their countrymen. 

During the reign of Constantine X. a severe earth- 
quake spread desolation round Constantinople, and 
ruined many districts which lay beyond the reach of 
hostile invasions. A greater amount of vested capital 
was destroyed in a few hours than the fiercest barba- 
rians could have annihilated in a whole campaign. 
The waUs of cities, the aqueducts, churches, and public 
buildings, were thrown down throughout all Thrace and 
Bithynia. At Cyzicus, an ancient temple of great size 
and splendour, and of a solidity of construction which 
seemed to announce eternal duration to those accus- 

1 Scylitzes. 810. 


BOOK III. tomed to the puny architectural eflForts of the Byzantine 
CH^i. ^jj^p^j^pg^ ^ng destroyed.^ At Nicsea, the walls of the 
great church, in which the first councU of the Church 
had assembled, were crumbled to their foimdations. 
Earthquakes continued to be felt with alarming vio- 
lence for the space of two years, as if to terrify men 
from repairing the dilapidations of the first terrific 

When Constantine X. found his end approaching, he 
conferred the regency of the empire, and the guardian- 
ship of his sons, who had already received the imperial 
crown, on his wife, Eudoda Makremvolitissa -^ but he 
exacted firom her a written promise not to marry a 
second husband, and he deposited that document in the 
hands of the patriarch John Xiphilinos. He also en- 
gaged the senate to take an oath that it would never 
acknowledge any other emperor than his own children. 
The names of the sons of Constantine X. who had 
received the imperial title were Michael, Andronicus, 
and Constantine. The last, having been bom after his 
father ascended the throne, was called Porphyxogenitus.^ 

1 This is doubUesB the temple mentioned by Dion Caasius, who BAys it was re- 
garded as one of the wonden of the world. Its columns were monoliths serenty- 
five feet in height, and twenty-four in circumference. A preceding earthquake 
in A.D. 448 had laid half of CyzicuB in ruins. For some account of the various 
public buildings'of this city and their remains, see HofiEinann, GrieeknUand und 
die Oriechen imAltertkum, ii. 1605. 

' Eudocia has been erroneously called the daughter of Constantine Dalasse- 
noe. The origin of the name MakremTolitiasa is unknown. She was the 
author of awo» called ** Ionia", a kind of historical and mythological dictionary, 
published hj Villoison in his Anecdota OroBoa. Constantine X. is said to have 
married Eudocia in the reign of Michael IV. — ^this would make her at least forty- 
seven years old at her husband's death; and as she lived twenty-five years after 
the death of Romanus IV., she must have died at the age of soTenty-five.— 
Ducange, Fam, Aug. Byt,, 161. Zonaras, NokBHUUnioc^ ii 115, ed. Par. ; 
92. ed. Venet. 

* S(7litie8, 818. 



Reoxkct or EuDOciA, a.d. 1067 : Her beoovd mabbiagk.— Romahus IY. 
(DioQEiTES,) A.D. 1068-1071: Ibruftiok of thx Skljouk Turks— Cah- 


DXATH— End or Btzantine power in Italt.—Michael VIL, a.d. 1071- 
1078: Charaotxb — ADiONJBTRATioir — Rebellion or Buloabians and 
Sclayohianb->Bayagb8 or Sbuoukb— Rebeluon or Oubsel and John 
DuoAB— Trbatt or Michael with Seuouk Turks — Rbbbluonb or Brt- 


1081 : Character— DsrsAT or Brtenniob and Babilakeb^Rbbbllion 
OF Melibbenob— or Alexias Comnbnub— Taking or Conbtantinoplb— 
Nicbfhobub III. dbthboned. 

In exacting from the senators an oath to maintain 
the rights of the young emperors, it was not the in- 
tention of Constantino X. to confer any additional 
power on the senate ; but the circumstance served as a 
pretext for every ambitious member of that body to 
plot for his own advancement^ under the pretext that 
he was performing the duty imposed on him by his 
oath. Eudocia soon perceived that she was in some 
danger of losing the regency unless she could secure 
some powerful aid. Her ambition suggested to her, 
that by choosing a second husband, whom she could 
raise to the imperial title, she would be able to retain 
her position even after the majority and marriage of 
her eldest son. Policy favoured her views, which were 
sanctioned by the prudent government of Nicephorus 
II. and John I., when they reigned as guardians and 
colleagues of the young emperors, Basil II. and Con- 
stantino VIII. Love determined the selection of Eu- 
docia. Her choice fell on Romanus Diogenes, who had 
been convicted of treason against her children's throne, 
and was then waiting to receive his sentence from Eu- 
docia as regent. His valour and his popularity with 
the army were great, and when he received a ftdl par- 
don from the empress-regent, it excited no suspicion 
that sheviewed him with peculiar favour. The Seljouk 


BOOK III. Turks had overran all Cappadocia, and the capture of 
cirM«. Cgggareia rendered it necessary to place the army under 
the command of an able and enterprising general. 
But before Eudocia could venture to marry Romanus, 
it was necessary to destroy the document she had 
signed, promising never to contract a second marriage. 
Her written engagement was in the hands of the Patri- 
arch, who held it as a national deposit. It required, 
therefore, some diplomatic skill to enable the empress 
to accomplish her object ; but she could reckon on the 
utter absence of any sentiment of patriotism among the 
Byzantine clergy. The duplicity of the empress was 
aided by the credulous ambition of the Greek Patriarch, 
John Xiphilinos, who, though he had formerly quitted 
high rank to become a recluse on Mount Olympus, now 
resumed all the vices of Constantinopolitan society. 
Eudocia understood his character, and by leading him 
to believe that she intended to select his brother as her 
husband, she induced him to deliver into her hands 
the document committed to his custody, and persuaded 
him to become the proposer of a measure in the senate, 
by which that body pronounced an opinion in favour 
of her second marriage. When her plans had com- 
pletely succeeded, she confounded the Patriarch, and 
gratified the people and the army, by announcing that 
she had selected Bomanus Diogenes, the bravest gene- 
ral in the empire, to fill the imperial throne, and act as 
guardian to her sons.^ 

Bomanus IV. was of a distinguished family of Cap- 
padocia. He was connected by birth with most of the 
great aristocratic nobles of Asia Minor. His father, 
Constantine Diogenes, had committed suicide in the 
reign of Bomanus III., and he inherited the courage, 
generosity, and vehemence of his parent.^ Though an 
able and skilful officer, his military talents were ob- 

^ Ist January 1068 ; Scylitaos, 822. * Vol. L p. 470. 


scared by a degree of impetuosity that made him too a. d. 

often neglect the suggestions of prudence in those cri- _J ' 

tical circumstances, when a long train of future events 
depends on the calmness of a moment's decisions. 
Bashness and presumption were the defects both of his 
private character and public conduct. Though his 
marriage with Eudocia seated him on the throne, he 
found his authority in the capital circumscribed by the 
influence of the officials, who pretended to support the 
power of his wife as empress-regent, and who were 
guided in their opposition by John Ducas, the late em- 
peror's brother, and the natural guardian of the young 
emperors after the second marriage of their mother. 
John Ducas also held the rank of Caesar, and his 
family influence in the senate was very great. The 
Varangian guard likewise viewed the elevation of 
Romanus IV. with great jealousy, on account of his 
popularity with the native troops, whom he had always 
favoured. These foreigners had openly expressed their 
discontent at the marriage of Eudocia, which they de- 
clared was injurious to the legal rights of the sons of 
Constantine X., and their seditious behaviour had been 
with difficulty suppressed. In this state of things, 
Bomanus IV. felt that he could only be the real sove- 
reign of the empire by placing himself at the head of a 
powerful army in the field, and the state of the war 
with the Seljouk Turks imperiously demanded the 
whole attention of the Byzantine government. 

In the year 1067 the Turks had extended their 
ravages over Mesopotamia, Melitene, Syria, Cilicia, and 
Cappadocia; they had massacred the inhabitants of 
Csesareia, and plundered the great church of St Basil 
of the wealth accumulated by many generations of 
pious votaries. After this campaign, their army win- 
tered on the frontiers of the empire. Bomanus now 
prepared to arrest their future incursions. He looked 


BOOK III. upon them as little better than hordes of brigands, and 

J thought their light cavalry was ill fitted to contend 

against a regular army. Confident of superiority on 
the field of battle, he expected success in the opera- 
tions of a campaign. The whole disposable forces of 
the empire were assembled in the Anatolic theme ; but 
the neglected discipline and various tactics of the 
troops composing the motley army, while they revealed 
the ruinous effects of the avarice of the late emperor, 
ought to have cautioned an experienced general to 
commence his operations by giving unity of action to 
the body under his command before opposing it to the 
enemy. Heraclius, and Leo the Isaurian, had re-esta- 
blished the power and restored the glory of the Roman 
empire with worse materials than the legions of Sclav- 
onians, Armenians, Bulgarians, Franks, and Varangians 
in the army of Romanus IV. But it required some 
time and patience to restore the once-celebrated dis- 
cipline of the Byzantine army, and to make the modi- 
fications which were called for by new contingencies 
in the arms, armour, and tactics of the native soldiers ; 
and the conservative vanity of Roman prejudices unit- 
ing with aristocratic pride and a headstrong disposi- 
tion, rendered the emperor utterly unfit for such a 
task. He hurried his troops into the field with all 
their imperfections, and his rashness inflicted a mortal 
wound on the empire of the East. It is not necessary 
to follow his operations in detail, nor to mention all 
the rapid movements of the Seljouk invaders. The 
ruin of the Byzantine power in Asia, the extermination 
of the greater part of the Christian population, the 
unhappy fate of Romanus himself, and the noble beha- 
viour of his conqueror Alp Arslan, immortalised in the 
pages of Gibbon, have invested this war with romantic 
interest, and conferred on it a degree of importance to 
which neither the military skill nor the political wis- 


dom of the rival combatants entitle it. The Seljouk a. d. 
armies were principally composed of cavalry, intent on ^^^"^^° ^' 
plunder. The Roman troops were mercenaries, desti- 
tute of loyalty and patriotism. The Seljouk leaders 
perceived that, as long as the Byzantine provinces in 
Asia Minor were inhabited by a numerous population 
of Christians, supported by a regular army and by a 
line of fortresses commanding the great roads, it would 
be impossible for nomade tribes to retain possession 
of any conquests they might contrive to make. Their 
policy, therefore, was soon directed to two objects : in 
the first place, to enrich their followers, increase their 
own fame, and augment the numbers of their troops 
by rapid inroads for the collection of plunder ; in the 
second, to reduce the open country as quickly as pos- 
sible to such a state of depopulation as would admit 
the establishment of permanent nomade encampments, 
in the midst of uncultivated plains, far within the 
frontiers of the empire. In the execution of this plan 
they carried into effect the instincts of their rude 
nomadic life, as well as their bigoted schemes for the 
extermination of Christian civilisation, which they felt 
was the most dangerous obstacle to their power. The 
great Sultan Alp Arslan was well aware that this war 
of incursions and devastation offered greater prospects 
of ultimate success than a series of pitched battles with 
the disciplined mercenaries of the empire. For two 
years he withdrew from the scene of action, and left to 
his lieutenants the task of ravaging and depopulating 
the Christian provinces of Asia Minor. 

The first military operations of the Emperor Romanus 
were attended with some success. Antioch was exposed 
to the attacks of the Saracens of Aleppo, who were now 
emboldened, by the assistance of Turkish troops, to 
attempt the reconquest of the Byzantine province in 
Syria. The emperor resolved immediately to march 

VOL. II. c 


BOOK ui. to the south-eastern frontier of the empire, to re-esta- 
^"''' blish the supremacy of the imperial arms ; but as he 
was advancing towards Lykandos, it was annoimced to 
him that an army of Seljouks had suddenly broken 
into Pontus and plundered Neocaesareia. Without los- 
ing an hour, he selected a chosen body of troops, and 
by a rapid countermarch through Sebaste and the 
mountains of Tephrike, overtook the retreating Turks, 
and compelled them to abandon their plunder and 
release their prisoners ; but* their activity secured the 
escape of the greater part of their troops. The emperor 
then returned southward, advancing through the passes 
of Mount Taurus to the north of Germanicia, called 
then the defiles of Koukousos, and invading the terri- 
tory of Aleppo, he captured Hierapolis (Membig), which 
he fortified as an advanced post for the protection of 
the southern frontier of the empire. After a good deal 
of severe fighting with the Saracens of Aleppo, he 
returned by Alexandretta and the Cilician gates to 
Podandos.1 Here he learned that, while he had been 
wasting the strength of his army by a severe and use- 
less inroad into Syria, a fresh horde of Seljouks, finding 
the eastern frontier ill guarded, passed all the for- 
tresses, and penetrated by a rapid march into the very 
heart of Asia Minor. They took and plundered. Amo- 
rium, after which they effected their retreat with such 
rapidity that Romanus was unable to pursue them, and 
therefore continued his march to Constantinople, which 
he reached in January 1069. 

The emperor's second campaign produced no better 
results than the first. It was deranged by the rebel- 
lion of a Norman noble in the Byzantine service, named 
Crispin, who, moved either by the unbounded insolence 
and rapacity of the Frank mercenary nobles, or by the 
necessity of securing the support of his troops, whom 

^ Scylitzes, 827, gives a detailed account of the emperor's operations. 


the emperor may have neglected to pay with regu- 
larity, commenced plundering the country, and robbing 
the collectors of the revenue.^ Though Crispin was 
himself overpowered, and exiled to Abydos, many par- 
ties of Frank soldiers continued to infest the Armeniac 
theme, and commit great disorders. The country round 
Csesareia was again overrun by the Turks, and the 
emperor was compelled to employ his army in clearing 
his native province from their bands. He found the 
operation so tedious that it exhausted his patience ; 
and in order to bring matters more speedily to a ter- 
mination, he ordered all his prisoners to be put to 
death as highway robbers, and refused to spare a Sel- 
jouk chief who had fallen into his hands, though he 
offered to pay an immense ransom for his life. Komanus, 
having delivered Cappadocia from the invaders, marched 
forward by Melitene to the Euphrates, and crossed the 
river at Romanopolis, with the intention of advancing 
to Akhlat, on the lake of Van. By the capture of this 
fortress he hoped to protect the Armenian frontier. 
Instead of sending forward one of his generals to 
execute this duty, and remaining himself with the 
main body of the army, to watch over the conduct of 
the campaign, he placed himself at the head of the 
troops destined for the siege of Akhlat, and intrusted 
the command of the forces destined to cover the fron- 
tier of Mesopotamia to Philaretos. This general was 
defeated during his absence, and the Seljouks again 
spread their ravages far and wide in Cappadocia and 
Lycaonia. They advanced as far as the district of 
Iconium, which they plundered in their usual manner, 
and then rapidly retreated with the spoil they had col- 
lected. The advance of the emperor was arrested by 
the news of their advance on Iconium. He retiimed 

^ ConoeniiDg the family of this Robert Crispin, see the note of Ducange, 
Nicephorus Bryennius, 88, ed. Venet. 

▲. D. 


BOOK III. to Sebaste, and sent on orders to the Duke of Antioch 
CHM^a. ^^ secure the passes at Mopsuestia, while he pressed 
onward to overtake the Turks at Heracleia (Kybistra). 
The invaders, hemmed in by these hostile armies, were 
attacked in the mountains of Cilicia by the Armenian 
inhabitants ; but by abandoning the greater part of 
their booty, and making only a momentary halt at 
Valtolivadhi, they contrived to gain a march on their 
pursuers and cross Mount Sarbadik, from whence they 
escaped to Aleppo.^ 

In the year 1070 the command of the imperial army 
was intrusted to Manuel Comnenus, nephew of the 
Emperor Isaac I., and elder brother of the future Em- 
peror Alexius. The general business of the adminis- 
tration, and a particular desire to save Ban from fall- 
ing into the hands of the Normans, by whom it was 
closely besieged, detained Romanus IV. in the capital. 
Manuel Comnenus had risen rapidly to the highest 
military rank, more by means of his aristocratic posi- 
tion than by superior talents, and he was distinguished 
more by his personal courage than his military expe- 
rience. The army was regarded in the Byzantine 
empire at this period as the special occupation of the 
nobility, and its highest commands were filled either 
by members of the great families of Ducas, Comnenus, 
Botaneiates, Bryennius, Melissenos, and Palaialogos, by 
Armenian princes and nobles, or by captains of foreign 
mercenaries, like Herve, Gosselin, Crispin, and Oursel. 
Such an army required the strong hand of an emperor 
like Leo III., and the indefatigable activity of a Con- 
stantine V., to compel it to respect order, and keep it 
amenable to discipline. 

Manuel Comnenus established his headquarters at 

^ The date of this campaign is fixed by the conflagration of the great church 
of Blachem, in the eighth indiction, and year of the world 6578 ; that is, in 
* autumn of aj>. 1069.— Scylitzes, 883; Zonaras, ii. 280. It was again burned 
down in 1484. — Phrantzes, 158, ed. Bonn. 


Sebaste, in order to watch any parties of Turks who a. d. 
might attempt to invade the empire. He was soon .ll_ ' 
drawn into an engagement by a Turkish general named 
Chiysoskroul or Khroudj, in which he was defeated 
and taken prisoner. The Turks then continued their 
ravages, penetrating as far as Chonae, which they sacked, 
after plundering the great church of St Michael, and 
carrying off all the holy plate, rich offerings, and pious 
dedications accumulated within its walls. The Chris- 
tians were insulted by seeing this great temple con- 
verted into a barracks for the cavalry of the invaders, 
and terrified by witnessing the destruction of other 
buildings. Many of the unfortimate inhabitants who 
attempted to escape slavery by flight, perished, on this 
occasion, by a singular fate. The rivers in the vicinity 
of Chonae pour their waters into an immense subter- 
raneous cavern, and it happened that while the wretched 
fugitives were attempting to escape from the Turks, a 
sudden inundation swept men, women, and children 
into this fearful chasm.^ 

At this time Chiysoskroul was revolving projects of 
rebellion against Alp Arslan, and he soon admitted his 
prisoner, Manuel Comnenus, to his counsels, for he was 
anxious to secure some support from the emperor. 
Manuel persuaded him to visit Constantinople in per- 
son, in order to conclude an alliance with the Byzantine 
empire, which was soon completed. The news of this 
act of rebellion called Alp Arslan to the scene of action. 
Though he had intrusted the conduct of the war to his 
officers as long as the plunder of the Roman empire 
was its principal object, the moment that the aspect of 
affairs was changed, by the appearance of a rival to his 

^ Scylitzes, 834, thinks that the misfortunes of the empire, caused by the 
elements as well as the Turks, indicated the wrath of God against the Qreeks 
for tolerating heresy. Herodotus, vii. 30, mentions the chasm' at Kolossao, 
about two miles from Chonse; and Hamilton {Retearehes in Am Minor, i. 509) 
giTes an interesting account of the aspect of the spot at present. 


BooKHi. throne, the great sultan hastened to the Byzantine 
_!-* frontier. He besieged and captured Manzikert, and 
invested Edessa ; but, after losing fifty days before its 
walls, he was compelled to retire into Persia. 

Early in the spring of 1071, Komanus marched at 
the head of a numerous army to recover Manzikert and 
meet the sultan. Various inauspicious omens are said 
to have announced the disastrous issue of his enter- 
prise, and the proofs his army gave of insubordination 
warranted the inference that his military operations 
were in great danger of proving unsuccessful. The 
soldiers pillaged the emperor's subjects wherever a 
camp was formed ; and when an attempt was made to 
enforce stricter discipline, a whole corps of German 
mercenaries broke out into a dangerous mutiny, which 
the emperor had great difficulty in appeasing.^ The 
army, however, continued to advance by Sebaste to 
Theodosiopolis, where the plan of the campaign was 
finally arranged. Eomanus, believing that Alp Arslan 
would be delayed for some time in Persia on account 
of the backward state of his preparations, resolved to 
divide his army in order to gain possession of Akhlat, 
in which there was a strong Turkish garrison, and 
which, in the possession of the Byzantine army, would 
form an excellent base of operations against Persia. 
Oursel, a Frank chie^ with a division composed of 
European mercenaries and Uzes, was sent to besiege 
Akhlat ; while Trachaniotes, with a strong division of 
Byzantine infantry, was detached to cover the opera- 
tion.2 The main body, under the immediate command 
of the emperor, advanced after this reduction to Man- 
zikert, which was soon retaken. Romanus had hardly 
taken possession of his conquest before his advanced 

1 Scylitzes, 886. Zonaraa, iL 281.— rd rdyfm rSw ^€fiiT(oi>v, The Othomans 
still call the Gennans Kemtsh. 

' For the genealogy of Oursel Bailleul, or Roesel Balioli see the not^ of 
Ducange to Nicephorus Bryonnius, 90, ed. Venet 


guard fell in with the skiraiishers of the army of Alp a. d. 
Arslan, and in some cavalry engagements which took ^^^7-io8i. 
place the Byzantine troops were severely handled. On 
the first encounter, Eomanus, who was not aware of 
the sultan's rapid advance, supposed that only a small 
force was opposed to the imperial army ; but when he 
became aware that the whole Turkish army was in his 
vicinity, he despatched orders to Trachaniotes and 
Oursel to rejoin the main body. These officers, how- 
ever, finding themselves unexpectedly in the immediate 
neighbourhood of a large Turkish force, retreated within 
the frontiers of Mesopotamia, instead of countermarch- 
ing to effect a junction with the emperor s army. It 
is difficult to say whether they were induced to take 
this step from mihtary reasons or treasonable motives. 
In the mean time a body of Uzes, which had remained 
with the main body of the army, finding themselves 
opposed to a division in the hostile army of similar 
language and race, deserted to the Turks.^ 

The two armies were now so near that a battle 
seemed unavoidable ; but stiU Alp Arslan, who would 
willingly have avoided risking a general engagement 
with the regular army of Romanus, made an offer to 
conclude peace on favourable terms. Romanus, how- 
ever, haughtily rejected the proposal, unless the sultan 
would consent to retire, and allow the Byzantine army 
to occupy the ground on which he was then encamped, 
before concluding the treaty. Alp Arslan knew that 
no secure peace was ever purchased by disgrace. Rom- 
anus allowed visions of vainglory to mislead him from 

* The kindred tribe of the Ghouzes, whom these Uzea appear to have 
joined, rebelled against the Sultan Sandjar, the grandson of Alp Arslan, called 
by the Orientals the Second Alexander, though the name of the Second Darius 
would haye been quite as apt, and kept him for four years a prisoner beyond 
the Oxus. Sandjar died in li57, and with him terminated the power of the 
Persian Seljouks, not, as Gibbon says, with Malekshah. — Price, mohammedan 
Empire, ii. 866. Hammer, UUtoire de PEmpire Ottoman, ti-ad. par Hellert, 
L 24^ A list of the Se^ouk sultans is given in the Appendix at the end of 
this volume. 


BOOK III. performing the duty he owed to the empire. He 

ciijji thought of rivalling Alexander the Great and Julius 

Caesar, when he ought to have been meditating on 

the causes which had enabled the Turks to plunder 

Caesareia, Amorium, Iconium, and Chonse. 

Both parties prepared for a desperate contest. Rom- 
anus placed himself at the head of his own centre ; the 
right wing of his army was commanded by Alyattes, a 
Cappadocian general ; the left, by Nicephorus Bryen- 
nius ; and the reserve was led by Andronicus, the son 
of the Caesar John Ducas, the emperor's bitterest 
enemy.^ The Turkish sultan intrusted the immediate 
command of the battle to the eunuch Tarang, who 
acted as his lieutenant-general, reserving to himself 
the direction of the reserve and the power of perform- 
ing all the duties of a general, without being called 
upon to act as a mere soldier. But he felt the import- 
ance of this first great battle between the Byzantine 
and Seljouk armies in deciding the fate of the two 
empires ; and he declared that, unless he proved vic- 
torious, the field of battle should be his grave. The 
strength of the Roman army lay in its legions of regu- 
lar infantry and heavy-armed cavalry, while that of the 
Turks reposed principally on the excellence of its light 
cavalry; hence the difficulty of obtaining a partial 
advantage was not great, but it required a well-com- 
bined system of manoeuvres to secure a complete vic- 
tory. The object of the regular army ought to have 
been the capture of the enemy's camp, while that of 
the irregular force was concentrated in forcing any 
portion of their enemy to make a retrograde movement, 
in the hope of converting the retreat into a total rout. 
The rash conduct of Romanus, the vigorous caution of 
Alp Arslan, the treachery of Andronicus Ducas, and 
the cowardice or incapacity of the Byzantine nobility, 

' NicephoniB BiyenniiUy 29. 


combined to give the Turks a complete victory. The a. d. 

iAfi7 iniii 
battle had lasted all day without either party gaining ' ' 

any decisive advantage, when the imprudence of the 
emperor, in ordering a part of the centre to return to 
the camp before transmitting proper orders to the 
whole army, afforded Andronicus Ducas a pretext for 
abandoning the field. Romanus, when he perceived 
his error, vainly endeavoured to repair it by his per- 
sonal courage. After fighting like a hero, his horse 
was at last killed under him, and, a wound in the hand 
having rendered h\m powerless, he was taken prisoner.^ 
The night had abeady set in, and the emperor was left 
to sleep on the ground with the other prisoners, if the 
pain of his wound and the agony of his mind could 
admit of repose. In the morning he was brought be- 
fore Alp Arslan, who, hearing that the Emperor of the 
Romans had fallen into his hands, placed himself on 
his throne of state, in the great tent set apart for the 
ceremonies of the grand sultan's court. As soon as 
Romanus approached the throne, he was thrown on the 
ground by the guards, and Alp Arslan, according to 
the immemorial usage of the Turks, descended from his 
seat and placed his foot on the neck of his captive, 
while a shout of triumph rang through the ranks of 
the various nations of Asia who composed his army. 
But the Byzantine historians who record this official 
celebration of his triumph, bear testimony to the mild- 
ness and humanity of the conqueror; and add that the 
emperor was immediately raised from the groimd, and 
received from the grand sultan assurance that he 
should be treated as a king.^ That evening Alp Arslan 

1 26th August 1071. 

' Gibbon, z. 359, doubts the narrative that Alp Arslan planted his foot on 
the neck of Romanus, and prefers the romantic colouring which some Eastern 
historians have given to their accounts. Their tale, however, deserves little 
credit, for they attribute to Malekshah the victory of his father, and suppose 
that the sultan himself had previously been taken prisoner by the Byzantine 
troops, but had concealed his rank from Romanus until be was released by the 
Btrata^m of bis vizier. Gibbon, iz. 21, records, without hesitation, that Jus- 


BOOK m. and Romanus supped together, and their conversation 
"''' is said to have been characterised by the noblest phil- 
anthropy on the part of the sultan, and the most dar- 
ing frankness on that of Romanus. Alp Arslan was 
really a man of noble sentiments ; but at this time his 
policy led him to gain the goodwill of his prisoner in 
order to conclude a lasting treaty of peace, for he was 
eager to pursue other schemes of conquest in the native 
seats of his race beyond the Oxus. Instead, therefore, 
of consuming his time in ravaging the empire, and 
planting his standards on the Asiatic shores of the 
Bosphorus,he concluded a treaty of peace with Romanus, 
who engaged to pay him a sum of money large enough 
to be a suitable ransom for a Roman emperor.^ 

The release of Romanus only overwhelmed the un- 
fortunate emperor with new misfortunes. The aristo- 
cracy and people of Constantinople both disliked his 
government, because it had withdrawn a large part of the 
public expenditure from the court and the capital, and 
reduced the salaries of the nobles and the profits of the 
tradesmen ; while the provincial governors and militaiy 
chiefs were not attached to his person, because he con- 
trolled their peculations and oppressions by his pre- 
sence. Corruption had penetrated so deep into the 
oflSicial society of the Byzantine empire, that the ruling 
classes were everywhere bent on converting the public 
service into a means of gain ; and the people, deprived of 
all power, and even of the capacity of obtaining any 
political knowledge, were utterly helpless. Romanus 

tinian XL, seated on a ihrone in the hippodrome of ConBtantinople, phtnted his 
feet on the necks of the dethroned emperors Leontius and Tiherius III. (Apsi- 
mar). The Persian emperor Sapor treated the Roman emperor Valerian in the 
same way.— Gihbon, i. 441. Compare Scylitzes, 842; D'Herbelot, Biblioihique 
OrienUde, "Malekshah;" Weil, GetehixAU der Chalifen, iii. 116. The circam- 
stances of Alp Arslan's death show that he could treat his prisoners with violence. 
"^ Aboulpharagius, Chron., ar. 228, says the ransom was a million of 
byzants; other writers make it 1,500,000 dinars, and say that Romanus en- 
gaged that the empire should pay a yearly tribute, 360,000 dinars or byzants, 
for fifty years. — Weil, iii. 116. Romanus was only a prisoner for eight days. 


had reformed the court, restrained the peculations of the a. d. 
aristocracy, and enforced discipline among the foreign ' ' 
mercenaries ; but he was not popular with the people, 
for he had neither amused them with shows in the 
hippodrome, nor lightened the burden of their suflferings 
in the provinces. He was indeed the only man in the 
empire whose interests and policy were identical with 
the public welfare, but unfortunately he was deficient 
in the prudence and judgment necessary to render this 
fact generally apparent. 

The captivity of Romanus had produced a revolution 
at court. The Empress Eudocia was compelled to take 
the veil and retire into a monastery, while the Caesar 
John Ducas became the real sovereign in the name of 
his nephew, Michael VII. As soon as the news reached 
Constantinople that the Emperor Romanus had returned 
into the empire, orders were sent oflf by the Csesar to 
prevent his being acknowledged as emperor. He had 
only been elevated to the throne to act for Michael VII., 
and that prince was now able to conduct the govern- 
ment. Such was the reasoning of the enemies of Ro- 
manus^ Both parties collected troops to support their 
pretensions. A battle was fought at Doceia, in which 
the army of Romanus was defeated, and that emperor 
fled to the fort of Tyropoion; but finding that he could 
not maintain himself there, he gained the mountains of 
Cilicia, and retired to Adana.^ He was soon pursued 
by Andronicus, who had betrayed him at the battle 
of Manzikert; and the Armenian governor of Antioch, 
ILatchadour, who had advanced to assist him, having 
been defeated, the garrison of Adana was so dispirited 
that they compelled Romanus to surrender on receiving 
assurance of personal safety. Andronicus required that 

^ Doceia or Tosiyeh is still a town of twenty thousand inhabitants, of whom 
three thousand are Armenians. It is situated on the riyer Deinrek, to the 
north of the direct road from Amasia to Constantinople. 


BOOK iiL Romanus should resign the empire and retire into a 
ch^^s. jQQjj^i^jy "Pl^g treaty was ratified at Constantinople, 
and the safety of the dethroned sovereign was guaran- 
teed by the Archbishops of Chalcedon, Heracleia, and 
Coloneia with the most solemn promises. But the 
Ceesar John Ducas seized the opportunity to gratify 
his implacable hatred, and, in defiance of the engage- 
ment of his son and the promises of the bishops, ordered 
the eyes of Romanus to be put out. Executioners were 
sent to inflict the sentence, and to carry the unfortunate 
emperor to the island of Prote, where he was left with- 
out an attendant to dress his wounds, which began to 
putrefy. The dying Romanus bore the tortures inflicted 
on him with unshaken fortitude, neither uttering a re- 
proach against his enemies nor a lamentation against 
his fate, praying only that his sufierings might be re- 
ceived as an expiation of his sins. His wife Eudocia 
was allowed to honour his remains with a sumptuous 
fimeral. It is said that, before quitting Adana, he col- 
lected all the money of which he could dispose, and 
sent it to the sultan as a proof of his good faith. It 
was accompanied with this message : " As emperor, 
I promised you a ransom of a million and a half. De- 
throned, and about to become dependent on others, I 
send you all I possess as a proof of my gratitude.'' ^ 

While Romanus was marching to the defeat which 
left all Asia Minor at the mercy of the Turks, the By- 
zantine empire lost its last hold on Italy. Arghyros, 
the son of Mel, had been sent by Constantine IX. as 
katapan or viceroy, to arrest the progress of the Nor- 
mans. He exerted himself with indefatigable energy 
both in open war and secret intrigue ; but the defeat of 
Pope Leo IX., who fell into the hands of the Normans, 

^ The account of the reign of Romanus IV. by Nicephorus Biyennius must 
be received with suspicion, and corrected by the more accurate narratiTos of 
Scylitzes and Zonaras. Scylitzea is our best authority for this period. 


rendered all the projects of the Byzantine government 
vain, and Arghyxos repaired in person to Constantinople 
to solicit additional support. Isaac I., displeased with 
his conduct, dismissed him from aU his employments, 
and the affairs of Italy were neglected. In the reign 
of Constantino X., an opportunity presented itself of 
re-establishing the imperial influence, in consequence 
of the dissensions of the Normans, but that emperor 
was too avaricious to take advantage of the circum- 
stances. Robert Guiscard had unjustly seized the 
heritage of his brother Humphrey, and Abelard, his 
nephew, fled to Constantinople, attended by Gosselin, 
a Norman officer of ability and influence. Though the 
Byzantine officers in Italy received little support from 
the central government, oneoftheirnumber,named Mau- 
rice, obtained considerable success, and with a corps of 
Varangians under his command defeated the Normans 
on several occasions, and regained possession of several 
towns. But Robert Guiscard, concentrating the whole 
force of his countrymen, at last captured Otranto, Tar- 
entum, and Brindisi, and laid siege to Bari, the last pos- 
session of the Byzantine emperors. The placewas attack- 
ed in 1 068, but was so well defended that the Normans 
were compelled to convert the siege into a blockade, 
and Romanus lY. determined to make an effort in its 
favour. In 1070 a fleet was intrusted to Gosselin, 
with ample supplies for the besieged city; but Gosselin 
was met by a Norman fleet under the command of 
Roger, the younger brother of Guiscard, and the future 
conqueror of Sicily. The Byzantine expedition was 
defeated, Gosselin was taken prisoner, and the garrison 
"^ari, hopeless of relief, capitulated on the 15th of 
April 1071, abandoning for ever the last relics of the , 
authority of the Roman empire of the East in Italy.^ 

^ Lupi Protoipata Chron,, m the BiUiotheca Hii^ regn, SieUia of Canuius. 
Compare Scylitoee, 854; Giannone, x. I ; and Muratori, Ann. d'ltaUai ilL 

A. D. 


BOOK in. The education of the Emperor Michael VII. had been 
^°''' intrusted to Michael Psellus, an able but intriguing 
pedant, who rendered the young prince a learned gram- 
marian, but, either from natural defects or improper 
instruction, he turned out a worthless sovereign.^ In- 
stead of attending to political business, he spent his 
time in rhetorical exercises or in writing iambics.^ 
Feeble, vain, and suspicious, he was easily made the 
tool of those who flattered his weaknesses. The Arch- 
bishop of Side, an able and virtuous prelate, was 
replaced in the duties of prime-minister by Nicepho- 
ritzes, who was recalled from the office of chief judge 
in Greece to perform the duties of postmaster-general.* 
The emperor being as idle as he was incapable, and the 
new prime-minister as active as he was unprincipled, 
Nicephoritzes soon gained the exclusive direction of the 
weak mind of his sovereign, and established a complete 
supremacy over the court as well as the public admi- 
nistration.* This was done in a great measure by a lavish 
expenditure of public money ; and while he satisfied 
many claimants on the treasury, he took care to enrich 

The Byzantine empire had now reached a state of 
society in which wealth was the universal object of 
pursuit. Every poetic aspiration in the heart of man 

137, Ti. 205. . The name of Aboulchares, one of the Byzantine governors, in- 
dicates a Saracen origin ; he may have been sent to form an alliance with the 
Saracens of Sicily. The date of the capture of Bari is placed in 1070 in the 
notes to the edition of Muratori published at Milan in 1724, v. 44. 

^ Michael Psellus, whose desertion of the Emperor Michael VI. has been 
noticed, boasted of his hostility to the unfortunate Romanus IV. Though his 
learning obtained for him the title of Prince of Philosophers, he was evidently 
a base politician, and his want of moral rectitude rendered him unfit to develop 
noble sentiments in any mind. 

* Scylitzes, 856, adds anapaests, to make the folly and pedantry of the em- 
peror greater. 

' Both the archbishop and his successor were eunuchs. Nicephoritzes, when 
young, had been placed in the imperial palace by Constantine IX. His ofBoe 
was now \ayodervs rov dp6fu)v. 

* Nicephorus Bryennius, who was a Cffisar, speaks of the talents and vices of 
Nicephoritzes with a mixture of admiration and blam& He says the eunuch 
possMsed abilities equal to Peiiolee for throwing an empire into confusion I ! 
—P. 41. 


was dead ; honour and fame were the dreams of chil- a. n. 

dren. Power itself was an object of ambition, because 
it was the surest means of attaining wealth, and it is 
needless to say that under such circumstances rapacity 
and extortion were vices inherent in official life. The 
financial difficulties of the government, after the disasters 
of Romanus IV., must have caused some disorders even 
imder the administration of an honest minister. The 
imperial revenues were diminished by the incursions of 
the Turks, which were pushed forward almost with 
impunity up to the very walls of Nicaea and Nicomedia. 
The Byzantine practice of filling the provinces with 
colonies of foreign races, and the lately-adopted usage 
of settling appanaged chieftains in Asia Minor, now led 
to several Armenian principalities in Cappadocia and 
Cilicia assuming an independent position.^ Yet even 
under these circumstances the great officers in the 
capital, the courtiers and the governors of provinces, 
all insisted on the fall payment of their exorbitant 
salaries, leaving the troops of the line, the fleet, and the 
public buildings to suffer from the diminished resources 
of the empire. The court of Constantinople and the 
shows of the hippodrome were as brilliant as ever ; the 
fortifications, the aqueducts, the roads and the ports 
of the provincial cities were allowed to faU to ruin. 
The whole of the money which the minister could draw 
into the central treasury was devoted to satisfy the 
rapacious nobility, and keep the turbulent populace of 
the capital in good-humour. As usually happens when 
police and cleanliness are neglected for any length of 
time, famine and plague began to ravage the provinces 

^ Besides the Armenian principalities already noticed, many local govemors 
acquired territorial establishments, as Katchadour at Antioch, Basil at Kesoun 
near Qermanicia, and Ochin at Lambron in Cilicia. We find also an Armenian 
named Philaretos at Antioch, and his son Barsam at Edessa, when those cities 
were betrayed to Suleiman, sultan of Iconium. Reuben established the Arme- 
nian kingdom of Cilicia by uniting several of these principalities and some other 
Armenian colonies, a.d. 1080.— Chamich, History of Armenia ; and the addi- 
tions to Lebeau, Bi$toire du Ba§-enipire, by Brosset, tome xv. 



BOOK in. of Asia Minor which the nomades had plundered. The 
ch^^s. p^pjg^ crowded together in the cities, died of starva- 
tion, and spread disease. Yet the rapacity and the 
exigencies of the treasury were so great, that the Emperor 
Michael availed himself even of these appalling disasters 
to collect money. Imperial ships were employed to 
form magazines of grain at Khsedestum, where a corn- 
market was established, and the trade in grain became 
a government monopoly. It is said that the imperial 
agents took advantage of the public distress to sell the 
modius of wheat for a byzant, and the popular indigna- 
tion propagated the report that the measure was reduced 
to three quarters of its legitimate contents. The emperor, 
who was held by his subjects to be responsible for this 
fraud, received from them the nickname of Michael 
Parapinakes, or Michael the Peck-filcher.^ 

While the people were thus oppressed, the principal 
military chiefe, both natives and foreigners, began to 
arrogate to themselves the authority of petty princes. 
Still, in attributing due importance to the temporary 
misgovernment of Michael and his minister, we must 
not neglect the general tendency of all extensive terri- 
tories in the eleventh century to separate into smaller 
circles of political action. Centralisation in an extensive 
state, even in the most civilised state of society, requires 
rapid means of communication. The theories of Roman 
law and administration, which had long tended to bind 
the subjects of the Byzantine empire together, had now 
lost their influence, and were supplanted by the autho- 
rity of personal and local power. The same social 
condition which caused the Byzantine empire to ex- 

^ The medimnos and modioB of CoDstantinople appear from the Byzantine 
writers to have been the eame measure at this time, for both consisted of four 
pinakia. See the authorities cited by Ducange, Ghucirium med. et itrf. Cfrceeir 
tatia, Toce UtvoKuw, At present, in Greece, tiie usual measure of grain is the 
kilo (nearly our bushel, as it is equal to about sixty lb. of good wheat) ; half 
a kilo is called a pinaki With regard to the monopoly, Scylitzes, 850, says, 


hibit a tendency to separation may be traced alike in 
the history of feudal France and of the Seljouk empire. 
Rebellions against the vigorous sway of Alp Arslan 
and Malekshah followed one another as rapidly as 
against the feeble rule of Michael Farapinakes and Nice- 
phorus Botaneiates. The impulse of society was the 
same in the Byzantine and the Seljouk empires ; the 
results only were modified by the character of the indi- 
vidual sovereigns : the valour of the sultans preserved 
their thrones, the cowardice of the emperors drove 
them into monasteries, but both empires were equally 
broken in pieces. 

The oppressive conduct and the weakness of the 
Byzantine government suggested to the Bulgarians the 
hope of re-establishing their national independence. 
The Bulgarian aristocracy was always sure of finding a 
large body of supporters among the Sclavonian popula- 
tion of Macedonia and Greece, as well as among the 
Bulgarians of Thrace, who were as anxious to be 
governed by a prince of their own race as the tribes 
north of Mount Hsemus. On this occasion the rebels 
sent a deputation to Michael, the sovereign of Servia 
and Croatia, who appeared to be the only Sclavonian 
prince powerful enough to protect them, and offered the 
sovereignty of Bulgaria to his son Constantinos Bodi- 
nos. The offer was accepted, and the Servian prince 
was proclaimed king of the Bulgarians, under the name 
of Peter, at Prisdiana.^ The Byzantine army, under 
the command of Damian Dalassenos, a presumptuous 
noble, was completely defeated, the camp was taken, 
and a mercenary chiei^ named Longibardopoulos, was 
made prisoner with many other officers of rank. This 

^ See Ducange, FamUicB Dalmatica Sclaroniea, etc., 280, 281. Constan- 
tine BodinuB was sent prisoner to Antioch after his capture, but contriyed to 
escape and return to Serria with the assistance of some Venetian merchants. 
He became soyereigpa of Servia some time later. The chronology of these 
events is full of difficulties. — Lucius, De A'^o DalmatiOf 299, 441 n., xriL 


A. D. 


BOOK m. Lombard chief, who had entered the imperial service 
^ "''' rather than submit to the Normans, soon gained the 
favour of the prince of Servia, whose daughter he mar- 
ried, and whose troops he commanded against the em- 
peror he had lately served The king of the Bulgarians, 
afber his victory, marched to Naissus, which he occupied, 
while he sent a division of his army to besiege Kastoria, 
and rouse the Sclavonians of Greece to take up arms. 
But the attack on Kiwtoria was defeated, the Sclavo- 
nians remained firm in their allegiance, and the king 
himself was routed and taken prisoner at Taonion in 
the month of December 1 073.^ The German and Frank 
troops in the Byzantine army committed the greatest 
disorders in the country through which they marched. 
At Prespa, they destroyed the ancient palace of the 
kings of Achrida, and they plundered the churches of 
their plate and ornaments whenever they could enter 

In Asia, Philaretos, an Armenian, who commanded a 
division of the army of Romanus IV. at the defeat of 
Manzikert, remained at the head of a considerable body 
of troops. After the death of Romanus he assumed the 
title of Emperor, and kept possession of a considerable 
territory in the neighbourhood of G^rmanicia, which he 
governed as an independent prince, until at last he made 
his peace with -the emperor on condition of being 
appointed Duke of Antioch.^ 

Amidst these scenes of disorder, Nestor, a slave of 
Constantine X., who had risen to the rank of governor 
of the towns on the Danube, suddenly rebelled,- Placing 
himself at the head of the garrisons under his orders, 
which were in a state of mutiny from want of pay, and 
eager to plunder the Bulgarians because some of their 

^ ScylitBes, 850, says this rebellion ooouired in the eleventh indiction and first 
year of Michael ; Zonaraa, u. 288, says in the third year of Michael, which 
agrees with the eleyenth indiction. 

' Seylitses, 866. Lebeao, note to Tolume zy. 72. 


countiyiaeii bad rebelled, he obtained the assistance of a. d. 
(me of the chiefe of the Patzinaks, and marched straight ^ ^^'^^^ '' 
to Constantinople. The rebels demanded the dismissal 
of Nicephoritzes, but finding their forces inadequate to 
attack the capital, they separated into small parties, 
and spread over the country to collect plunder. Nestor 
remained with the Fatzinaks, and retired with them 
beyond the Danube.^ 

Every calamity of this unfortimate period sinks into 
insignificance when compared with the destruction of 
the greater part of the Greek race by the ravages of 
the Seljouk Turks iq Asia Minor. As soon as the con- 
ditions of the treaty with Komanus were repudiated 
by the government at Constantinople, Alp Axslan re- 
solved to revenge himself for the loss of the stipulated 
ransom and tribute. Other wars demanded his personal 
attention, but ionumerable hordes were instructed to 
plunder the Boman empire; and his son Malekshah 
intru£rf^ Suleiman, the son of Koutoulmish, with a 
permanent command over all the Turkish encamp- 
ments in Asia Minor. Suleiman began to lay the 
foundations of a lasting dominion by attaching the 
agricultural population to his government, whether 
they were freemen or serfs. This class cultivated the 
lands belonging to the great Byzantine landed proprie- 
tors, without any hope of bettering their condition. 
Suleiman now treated them as proprietors of the land 
they occupied, on their paying a fixed tribute to the 
Seljouk empire, and thus the first foundations of the 
Turkish administration were laid in the opposing inte- 
rests of two different classes of the Christian population, 
and in the adverse interests of landlords and tenants. 

^ According to a chronicle preserved in the Imperial Library at Vienna, and 
quoted by Malte-Bnin, the Hungarians besieged Belgrade, which was in the 
poasession of the Byrantine troops in the yeai^ 1078, and in the siege they 
employed cannons and arquebuses. — MSmoire twr la V^couverte en Atie de la 
Poudi^fi-^Canonf par P&ravey, 7. 


BOOK iiL The progress of the Turks at last roused the Byzan- 
^!!llL** tine government to exertion, and a motley army, com- 
posed of a variety of diflferent nations^ was brigaded 
together ; the principal object kept in view was to 
prevent the troops agreeing to elect a new emperor. 
Isaac Comnenus, an elder brother of Alexius I., was 
appointed to command this force, but was unable to 
prevent it becoming a scene of anarchy. The merce- 
naries plundered the people, and when Isaac attempted 
to punish the soldiers of Oursel for their misdeeds^ that 
Norman, who claimed an exclusive jurisdiction over 
his own corps, deserted the camp, and induced all 
the Franks to join his standard. He took possession 
of Sebaste, expecting to form an independent Norman 
principality in Pontus, as Robert Guiscard had done 
in Italy. In the mean time the army of Isaac Comnenus 
was defeated at Caesareia, his camp stormed, and him- 
self taken prisoner by the Turks. The state of affairs 
in Asia Minor became then so alarming, that the CsBsar 
John Ducas, who had hitherto spent the greater part 
of his time hunting in the forests near the shores of the 
Bosphorus, found himself compelled to take the com- 
mand of the army. His first operations were directed 
against the rebel Oursel. He fixed his headquarters 
at DorylsBum, and the Norman encamped near the 
sources of the Sangarius. The two armies met near 
the bridge over that river called Zompi, which was one 
of the great lines of communication between Constan- 
tinople and the central provinces of Asia Minor.^ The 
desertion of his Frank mercenaries, and the disgraceful 
retreat of Nicephorus Botaneiates with the Asiatic re- 
serve, caused the complete defeat of the Caesar's army. 

^ The position of the bridge of Zompi is of some importanoe in explaining 
the military history of this period. It was probably at Tchander. — Hamilton's 
JUuarchtt M» Aiia Minor, i. 446. It was built by Justinian. — Proeop, d€ Mdif., 
lib. T. Compare Cedronus, 387; Scylitzes, 836, 847. 


John Ducas and his son Andronicus were both made a. d. 

prisoners, and the victorious army of mercenaries ad- ^ ' 

vanced to the shores of the Bosphonis, and set fire to 
some of the houses at Chrysopolis (Scutari). Oursel, 
however, abeady perceived that the force imder his 
command was insufficient to overthrow the administra- 
tive fabric of the empire, even as then degraded, and 
he resolved to advance his fortunes by acting as gene- 
ral-in-chief for an emperor of his own creation. A 
similarity in the circumstances of his position taught 
him to imitate the policy of Eicimer,^ and he easily 
persuaded his prisoner, the Caesar John Ducas, to as- 
sume the title of Emperor, and aid in dethroning his 

Michael and his minister were now infinitely more 
alarmed by their own personal danger than they were 
concerned at the calamities of the subjects of the 
empire. An alliance was formed with Suleiman, who 
commanded the forces of his cousin the great sultan ; 
and a formal treaty was concluded between the Byzan- 
tine emperor and the Seljouks in Asia Minor, which 
received the official ratification of Malekshah.^ The 
Emperor Michael conferred on Suleiman the govern- 
ment of the provinces o5 which the Seljouk Turks were 
then in possession ; which was the phrase adopted by 
Byzantine pride to make a cession of that large portion 
of Asia Minor already occupied by the Mohammedans, 
and the Seljouk emir engaged to furnish the emperor 
with an army of mercenary troops. The precise con- 
ditions of the treaty, or the exact extent of terri- 
tory ceded to the Turks, are not recorded; and indeed 
the Byzantine writers mention the existence of this 
important treaty only in a casual way, though it laid 

I QibboD, chap, xxxvi. 

' The passages alludmg to this treaty are, Scylitaes, 861 ; ZtontanB, ii. 290 ; 
Nicephoms Bryennius, 59 ; Anna Comnena, 6. 


BOOK m. the foundation of the independent power of the Seljouk 

CH^M^a. g^^j^^jjg ^£ jJqiuj^ Qf ^hom Suleiman was the progenitor, 

and whose dynasty long survived the elder branch. of 

the house of To^rulbeg, who reigned as great sultans 

in Persia.^ 

This treaty was concluded in the year 1074, and a 
Turkish army immediately marched, with the rapidity 
that distinguished their military movements, to Mount 
Sophon, where Oursel was encamped. The light cavalry 
soon drew Oursel into an ambuscade, and he was taken 
prisons, along with his phantom emperor. The wife 
of Oursel, however, who was residing at a neighbouring 
castle, in which he had laid up a considerable treasure, 
instantly paid the ransom demanded by his captors, 
and, collecting his Franks, he marched back to his old 
quarters in the Armeniac theme, in order to recruit his 
strength. The Emperor Michael gained possession of 
his uncle's person by paying the ransom demanded by 
the Turks, and allowed him to retain his sight on his 
resigning all his political pretensions, and adopting the 
monastic life. Alexius Comnenus was now sent to 
command the Byzantine troops against Oursel, and 
succeeded in reducing him to such difficulty that he 
attempted to form an alliance with a Turkish chief 
named Toutash, who was watching his movements. 
Alexius had, however, secured the fidelity of the Turk, 
by promising him a large ransom if he ddivered Oursel 
into his own hands. The Frank leader was at last 
seized at a conference, and the intriguing Alexius car- 
ried him a prisoner to Constantinople, to bargain for 
wealth and honours for himself.^ 

Affcer the capture of Oursel, the Turks made the 
treaty with the emperor a pretext for encroaching on 

1 A list of the Se^ ouk grand sultans, and of tho sultans of Roum or Iconium, 
is eavea in the Appendix to this volume. 

' The avidity of Alexius to profit by any senrioe he rendered to the emperor 
or the empire is portrayed by his son-in-law, Nioephorus Biyennius, 07. 


the possessions and plondering the wealth of the sub- 
jects of the empire ; but all open warfare having ceased 
in Asia Minor, Isaac Comnenus was sent with an army 
to Antioch, to protect the Byzantine possessions in 
Syria from the tribes of Seljouks who had conquered 
Aleppo and Damascus. He was not more fortunate at 
Antioch than he had been at Csesareia ; his army was 
defeated, his brother-in-law, Constantiue Diogenes, the 
son of Bomanus IV., was slain, and he himself wounded 
and taken prisoner. He was, nevertheless, soon after 
delivered from captivity by the inhabitants of Antioch, 
who paid the Turks twenty thousand byzants as his 

The weakness of the emperor, and the avarice of the 
minister, invited several members of the aristocracy to 
profit by the general discontent, in order to mount the 
throne. Two military nobles of distinguished families 
took up arms in Europe and Asia. Nicephorus Bryen- 
nius, who had gained considerable reputation at Dyr- 
rachium, assembled an army composed of Thracian 
Bulgarians, Macedonian Sclavonians, Italians, Franks, 
Uzes, and Greeks.^ With this army he advanced to 
Constantinople ; but he had no feelings in conmion 
with the mass of the inhabitants of the empire, and he 
permitted his troops to plunder and bum the suburbs 
of the capital. This conduct produced so determined 
an opposition to Ins pretensions, that Michael compelled 
him to raise the siege and retire, under the pretext that 
the incursions of the Patzinaks rendered his presence 
necessary to protect the open country of Thrace. The 
proceedings of Nicephorus Botaneiates in Asia were 

1 Nicephorus BryenniiiB, 66, mentions the amount of the ransom. Constan- 
tiue Diogenes had married Theodora, the sister of Isaac and the Emperor 
Alexius I. 

' That the Byzantine troops called Thraoians were Bulgarians, and those 
called Macedonians, Sclavonians, admits of no doubt. Scylitzee, 852-865, 
and Zonaras, iL 294, dearly distinguish Thracians, Macedonians, and Romans 
(Qreeks). The Italian corps that entered the imperial service, after the death 
of Maniakes in 1048, had been kept up by ftvsh reoruits.— Kioeph. Bryen., 91. 

A. D. 


BOOK iiL even more injurious to the public welfare than those 
^''''* of Bryennius. He purchased the support of Suleiman, 
the sultan of Roum, by ratifying the treaty concluded 
with Michael, and abandoning an additional Christian 
population to the power of the Mohammedans, in order 
to obtain the assistance of a corps of Seljouk cavalry.^ 
Yet he was welcomed by the inhabitants of Niceea as 
a deliverer with great rejoicings ; and before he reached 
the Bosphorus he received the news that Michael VII. 
had been dethroned by a general insurrection, in which 
the senate, the clergy, and the people had with one 
accord taken part. The imperial pedant had retired 
into the monastery of Studion with his son Constan- 
tino, and left the throne vacant for his successor.^ 

The history of the reign of Nicephorus III. (Bota- 
neiates) may be comprised in a few words. He was an 
old idle voluptuary ; the palace was a scene of de- 
bauchery, and the pablic administration, intrusted to 
the direction of two Sclavonian household slaves, feU 
into utter disorder. The old emperor thought only of 
enjoying the few years he had to live, rather as a brute 
than a man ; each member of the aristocracy was 
engaged in plundering the public treasury, or plotting 
to seize the empire ; and the two ministers, whose very 
language proclaimed their foreign origin, pillaged the 
provinces by their agents, or left them to be overrun 
by the Turks or by rebels.' The infatuated Nicephorus 

1 Compare Soylitses, 857-861, Zonaras, iL 290, with Nioeph. Bxyen., 80. . 

' MicbiBel VIL was made Bishop of Ephesus to prevent his ever regaining 
the throne ; but so little was he feared that he was allowed to retain his sight 
and reside at Constantinople. 

' Scylitzes, 867; Zonaras, iL 292; Niceph. Biyen., 97; AnnaComnena, 43,— 
all mention tiie foreign origin, language, and manners of these slaves. Man- 
aaaes, 136, expresses the public feeling in the following verses : — 
Ka\ rh, fth npayiuxra X^P^^ hrlartvw caf6p&ur»v 

KpoTOpa irayrffjjpujv €ir66vr»v Koi fTivtWoy, 
Otf ^v t6 yofos rpidovkovt koi fronrroi xal irartpts 
Tpitaptapoi Kol r^v ^^X^> Baptapoi Kal rifp yv&ya^Vf 
Kdl a-KuAr/iwraxivs XoXi^ tvtn^paxrrw XaXayovin-cf . 


moreover excited the disffust of his subjects by marry- a. d. 

ing Maria the ex-empress, though her husband, the _J ' 

dethroned Emperor Michael VII., was still living as 
Bishop of Ephesus, and residing in the capital ; but it 
was hjs wasteful expenditure of public money, and his 
fraudulent conduct in issuing a base coinage to supply 
his extravagance, which converted the contempt of all 
ranks into hatred, and caused his ruin.^ 

Nicephorus III. reigned three years, and during that 
period no less than four rebels assumed the imperial 
title, besides Alexius Comnenus, by whom he was de- 
throned. Several Armenian princes in Asia Minor 
attempted to establish their independence; and two 
Paulician leaders took up arms in Thrace, and com- 
mitted many cruelties, to revenge themselves for the 
persecutions they had suffered.^ The religious bigotry 
of the Greeks concurred with the disorganisation of 
the government in accelerating the ruin of the empire. 

The rebel emperor Bryennius had failed to take Con- 
stantinople from political incapacity, not from want of 
military force. As soon as Nicephorus III. was estab- 
lished on the throne, he sent Alexius Comnenus, now 
the first general of the empire, to attack the rebels 
with an army composed of Asiatic Christians, Franks, 
and Turkish caval^. The two armies were equal in 
number, and neither exceeded fifteen thousand men. 
A battle was fought at Kalavrya, near the river Al- 
myros, in which Bryennius was defeated and taken 
prisoner. He was then deprived of sight.^ 

^ StMlcy, £uai de CUuMeaHon de$ 8uite$ M<miiaira Bytaniinei, 816, men- 

tions a gold coin of Nicephorus so pale from alloy as to appear almost like 
silver ; and Ducange, Fam. Aug. Byz^ 159, mentions that the coin he pub- 
lished was of pale gold. Zonaras, ii 298, mentions ,that the predeoeeson of 
Alexias I. had issued debased gold. 

' Gaghik, the last Bagratianking of Armenia, was assassinated near Cybistra 
in 1079. Adorn and Abousal, sons of Sennacherim prince of Vasparoukan, 
and Gkighik prince of Ears, were murdered by the Greeks in 1080.— Saint 
Martin, L 421. Chamich, ii I5a 
. * ZonaraSf iL 292^ says Kalabrya was so called from its abundant fountains; 


BOOK ni. As soon as the country round Adrianople was paci- 
cm^m^s. ^^ Alexius was sent against the second rebel emperor, 
Basilakes, who had occupied Thessalonica, and was 
waiting the result of the contest between Bryennius 
and Botaneiates to fell on the victorious army. The 
forces under the command of Basilakes consisted of 
veteran Frank, Sclavonian, Albanian, and Greek sol- 
diers, and his confidence in his own valour and militaiy 
talents made him look on success as certain* Alexius, 
however, contrived to entrap him into a night attack 
on the imperial camp, which was eighteen miles dis- 
tant from Thessalonica, on the banks of the Vardar. 
Basilakes was defeated, and when he attempted to 
defend the citadel of Thessalonica, he was seized by his 
own soldiers, and delivered to the emperor, by whose 
orders he was deprived of sight.^ Constantine Ducas^ 
the brother of the dethroned Michael VIL, was pro- 
claimed emperor by the troops in Asia Minor ; but his 
incapacity was soon so evident that his own partisans 
delivered him to Nicephorus III., who only compelled 
him to become a monk, and take up his residence in 
one of the monasteries in the islands of the Propontis. 
Nicephorus Melissenos was the fourth rebel He 
had strongly opposed the election of Botaneiates, and 
soon took up arms to dethrone him. His high rank, 
great wealth, ancient family, and extensive family 
aUiances among the aristocracy, rendered him a dan- 
gerous political rival.' He was utterly destitute of 
noble ambition or patriotic feelings ; and, to gratify 

bat Strabo, lib. m c. yL 819, says that '* Bria" signified city in the Thradan 
language uid we find in this part of Thrace Meeembria, Selymbria, Poly- 

John, the brother of Nioephorua Bryennius, was pardoned, but was aBsaasi- 
nated in the streets of Constantinople by a Varangian soldier he had once 
punished with severity. Nicephorus was oonsidered the best tactician in the 
empire. — Anna Comnena, lib. vii 1 91. 

^ Alexius Comnenus gained great wealth by appropriating to himself the 
treasures of BaaUakes. — Niceph. Bijea,, 102. 

' Melissenos had married Eudooia, the sister of Alexius Comnenus.— Da' 
cange, Fam. Aug, Bys., 172. 


A. D. 

his lust of power, was willing to degrade the Greek 

race, and dismember the empire. In order to secure ' 

the assistance of a large body of Turks, he concluded 
a treaty with their chiefs, by which he engaged to 
divide the cities and provinces his army should con- 
quer with these enemies of his faith and nation. 
Suleiman, the sultan of Bourn, took advantage of the 
opportunity t^us afforded him to gain possession of 
Nicsea and plunder Cyzicus. An imperial army was 
foiled in an attempt to recover possession of Nics^a, 
which remained in the hands of the Seljouk Turks, 
until it was restored to the Byzantine empire by the 
first crusade.! 

The troubled state of the empire, and the age of 
Nicephorus III., rendered the nomination of his suc- 
cessor the great object of court intrigue, and it became 
known that the old man had selected his nephew 
Synadenos to be the future emperor. His procrastina- 
tion in carrying his determination into effect caused 
his dethronement. The beautiful Empress Maria had 
expected, by her marriage with the aged Botaneiates, 
to secure the throne for her child, and the regency for 
herself, and she was now alarmed at the prospect of 
descending &om the throne she had occupied as the 
wife of two emperors, and which she had expected to 
retain as mother of a third.^ She now sought support 
from her relations. The marriage of Isaac Comnenus 
with her cousin Irene, an Alanian princess, and of 
Alexius, his brother, with Irene, the daughter of 
Andronicus Ducas, the cousin of her first husband, 
attached that influential family to her interest.* She 

^ The oommander of the municceasfiil Byaantine army was the protoveati- 
arios John, a eunuch, a.d. 1080. 

> Maria was the daughter of the King of Alania, or Iberia; and the extreme 
beauty and grace of this foreign princess are celebrated by Anna Comnena, 
though she cannot conceal that spirit of envious calumny so peculiar to the 
Byzantine Greeks, 74. 

' The marriage of Alexius with Irene Dukaina infused a tinge of Bulgarian 
blood into the imperial family of Conmenus; for Irene was the daughter of 


BooKiu. now drew closer the bonds of union by adopting 
-1-1-.' Alexins as her son. Court intrigues commenced, a 
conspiracy was formed, and the Sclavonian ministers, 
Borilas and Grermanos, who had risen to power by 
studying the characters of the aristocracy, saw that 
the profound dissimulation of Alexius (which his 
daughter celebrates as political sagacity), joined to his 
popularity with the troops, rendered him the most 
dangerous man among the nobility.^ They proposed 
to arrest him, and deprive him of sight ; but the con- 
spirators were informed of the danger in time to escape 
to Tzourulos, where Alexius and his friends joined an 
army assembled to act against Melissenos. The Caesar, 
John Ducas, who had quitted the monastic habit, 
George Paleologos, a dashiag ofl&cer, who married 
Anna, a younger sister of the wife of Alexius, and 
several of the ablest ofl&cers among the aristocracy, fled 
to the camp, which was moved to Schiza. As it was 
necessary to elect an emperor capable of commanding 
the army, the legitimate claims of Constantine, the son 
of Michael VII., were set aside, and Alexius was pro- 
claimed emperor by the whole army. The rebels then 
marched to attack Constantinople; but as the land 
wall is about four mUes long, the besiegers were unable 
to occupy the whole extent with their lines, and 
Alexius contented himself with forming his camp on 
the elevated land which overlooks the Propontis and 
the city. Romanus IV. had constructed a country 
palace in this sterile and exposed position, which enjoys 

Maria, the daughter of Trojan, son of Samuel king of Achrida. Ducange 
erroneously makes Maria the wife of the Csesar John Ducas, the father of 
AndronicuB. Tet he mentions that the daughter of Trojan was the wife of 
Andronicus. Again, he calls Irene the wife of Qeorge Paleologos, oonfounding 
her with her sister Anna.— i^cnik Byz., 164, 166, 280. Anna Comnena, 54, 56; 
and Nioeph. Bryen., 72. 

^ Anna Conm., 49, says that Borilas aspired at becoming emperor himself. 
Even if this be a calumny, it affords OTidence of tiie utter want of Greek 
nationaliW among the Byzantine nobility, otherwise a Sclayonian slave oould 
not have been accused by an imperial princess of such an attempt 


the advantage of a healthy summer dimate, and an a. d. 

abundant supply of water. The spot was called ' 


Alexius had no time to lose. Melissenos had al- 
ready advanced to Damalis, and had opened negotia- 
tions for a partition of the empire both with Nice- 
phorus III. and the rebels. The imperial ministers 
urged their master to conclude a treaty with Melis- 
senos, and then fall on the camp of Alexius with an 
overwhelming force. Procrastination, however, again 
ruined the aflfairs of the old emperor. A careftd ex- 
amination of the fortifications of Constantinople, which 
did not then present its existing aspect of a dilapidated 
rampart and half-filled ditch, convinced Alexius that 
there was no hope of taking the place by storm, and 
that if he entered the city, he must do so by treachery. 
The most exposed portions of the wall were guarded 
by native troops and Varangian guards, whose fidelity 
was proof against seduction ; but a tower in the 
Blachemian quarter, commanding the Charsian gate, 
had been intrusted to German mercenaries, whose 
leader, Gilpracht, was bribed to betray his charge. At 
night, George Paleologos was admitted, and on a given 
signal the rebel troops took possession of the towers 
adjoining the gate, and defiled into the streets of 
Constantinople, which was soon treated as if it had 
been taken by storm. The army, which hardly recog- 
nised any acknowledged leader, dispersed in quest of 
plunder, and the rebel emperor and his principal 
partisans were left almost alone in the square called 
Tauros, exposed to the danger* of falling into the hands 
of the old emperor, had he possessed courage enough 
to make a vigorous eflfbrt in his own defence. The 
imperial party was still in possession of the palace, 

^ Anna Comn., 61. This seems to have been near the spot occupied by the 
kiosk of the sultan and the great barracks at Daoud Pasha. 


BooKin. which had been converted into a strong citadel by 
oh^m^j. jq^j^pi^Qj-og J J . ^iiiie the Varangians and the Choma- 
tian legion, who occupied the city from the forum of 
Constantine as far as the Milion, stood ranged in order, 
ready to attack the dispersed bands of the rebels. 
Alexius was striving to bring forward his best troops, 
and a battle seemed inevitable. The capital was on 
the eve of being destroyed by the conflagrations with 
which each party would cover their operations, when 
the activity of George Paleologos, who made himself 
master of the fleet, and the weakness of Nicephorus 
III., who abandoned his anny, and fled to St Sophia's, 
terminated the contest, and saved Constantinople from 
ruin. The old emperor consented to resign his crown, 
and retire into a monastery. Alexius entered the 
imperial palace, and the rebel army commenced plun- 
dering every quarter of the city. Natives and mer- 
cenaries vied with one another in license and rapine. 
No class of society was sacred from their lust and 
avarice, and the inmates of monasteries, churches, and 
palaces were alike plxmdered and insulted. 

This sack of Constantinople by the Sclavonians, 
Bulgarians, and Greeks in the service of the families 
of Comnenus^ Ducas, and Paleologos, who crept 
treacherously into the city, was a fit prologue to its 
sufferings when it was stormed by the Crusaders in 
1204. From this disgraceftd conquest of Constanti- 
nople by Alexius Comnenus, we must date the decay 
of its wealth and civic supremacy, both as a capital 
and a commercial city. It was henceforth xmable to 
maintain the proud position among the cities of the 
earth which it had held from the time that Leo III. 
repulsed the Saracens from its walls. New Rome, 
like old Bome, was destined to receive its deepest 
wounds from the dagger of the parricide, not from the 
sword of the enemy. Even Zonaras, a Byzantine his- 


torian, who had held high office under the son and 
grandson of Alexius, points out with just indignation 
the calamities which attended the establishment of 
the family of Comnenus on the imperial throne. The 
power which was thus established in rapine terminated 
about a century later in a bloody vengeance inflicted 
by an infuriated populace on the last emperor of the 
Comnenian family, Andronicus I.^ Constantinople was 
taken on the 1st of April 1081, and Alexius was 
crowned in St Sophia's next day.^ 

1 ZonBraB,ii295. Anna Conmena, 64, confirms the account Zonarassams 
Qp the evils Buffered by the inhabitants of Constantinople in these words : 
ToiaCra <r(pi<n rh 9rpocMrc$dca yrvovc, rotavra rh tls rffv Boaikiba r&p ir6ktt»v 
ct<nn;pui, rotavra rh irffs ^qinXcuw im€a rffpta. 

* Anna Comnena, 64. The city was taken Thuzsday before Easter of the 
fourth indiction in Uie year 6589 of the Constantinopolitan era. 

A. D. 



8E0T. I. — THB REIGN OF ALEXIUS I., A.D 1081-1118. 
Chabaotib of Alexius — Hib ooubt and ooybbnmbivt — PBirximiRB to 


Asia — The Crusades — Disputes of Alexius with the Cbusadbbs — 
Reooyert of Nioaa — Conduct of Alexius ajter the oonqubbt of 
Antioch — War between Alexius and Bohbicund — Wabs with the 
TuBKS— Death of Alexius I. 

No ordinary talents were required to enable Alexius 
Comnenus to keep possession of the throne he had 
suddenly ascended, to the disappointment of many 
earlier claimants.^ Surrounded by the families of 
dethroned emperors, by a warlike nobility, and an 
army accustomed to rebellion, his position required 
even greater aptitude as a diplomatist and admini- 

^ The life of Alexius, by hia daughter, Anna Comnena, is the principal Greek 
source for the history of his reign; and it is of value, though idmost every page 
is vitiated by pedantry and moral blindness. The biography of an absolute 
sovereign, written by a princess in a servile court or a secluded convent, must 
be in some measure a work of imagination; and yet, amidst the imperial pre- 
judices, and unsuspected misrepresentations of Anna, her revelations concern- 
ing the thoughts and feelings of the most civilised court in Christendom often 
unconsciously reflect truths she did not herself perceive. Other authorities 
are, Zonaras, ii. 295 ; Glycas, 332 ; and Ephrsemius, 149. Among modem 
works, Wilken, lUrum ah Alexia /., Joanne, Manude et Alexia TI., Comnenie 
gettaruvif lib. 4, deserves attention. For the Norman wars, Quillielmus 
Apuliensis, lib. 4 ; Qaufredus Malaterra, lib. 3 ; and Muratori, Jnnali (Tltalia, 
torn. vi. For the history of the Crusades, see Michaud, BiUiagraphie det 


strator than ability as a commander-in-chief.^ That a. d. 
Alexius was a man of courage cannot be doubted, ^ ^' 

though, even as a soldier, he trusted more to cunning 
and deceit than to valour and tactics. There was also 
a mixture of vanity, presumption, and artifice in his 
character, which seem to indicate that he was a lucky 
adventurer, indebted in a great measure to the utter 
worthlessness of all his competitors for his signal 
success. His talents, indeed, were chiefly employed in 
balancing the personal interests of those around him, 
in neutralising the effect of their vices, and in turning 
the vicissitudes of public events to his individual 
advantage. The mind of Alexius presents us with a 
Greek type, which becomes predominant as we advance 
in Byzantine history. The Roman traits, which had 
given a firmer political character to its earlier annals, 
had been long fading away, and under the dynasty of 
Comnenus they disappeared. Alexius never framed 
any permanent line of policy for improving the na- 
tional resources, or performing the duties incumbent 
on the imperial government ; his conduct was entirely 
directed by temporary contingencies and personal 
accidents ; in short, he was a politician, not a states- 
man. He never aspired beyond the game of personal 
intrigue, and in that game he acted without principle, 
mistaking deceit for wisdom, as his daughter, who 
records his actions, candidly testifies by many an 
anecdote in her courtly ignorance of the value of com- 
mon honesty.* Personal courage in the field, and low 

^ Two dethroned emperors, Michael VII. and Nioephorus III., were living 
in Constantinople, and four sons of emperors who had received the imperial 
title during the reigns of their father& These were, Constantino Ducaa 
(Porphyrogenitus), the son of Constantine X ; Leo and Nicephorus Diogenes, 
sons of Romanus IV. and Eudocia (Anna Comnena proves they were crowned, 
19-256); and Constantine Ducas, son of Michael VIL, who was for some time 
the titular colleague of Alexius. There were also several rebel emperors who 
had worn the crown and the red boots for a time, like the Cssar John Ducas, 
Bryennius, Basilakee, and Melissenos. The three blind calenders, kings' sons, 
were nothing to this congregation of emperors. 

' The corruption of the Byzantine court and the lax morality of the Eastern 



BooKiir. cunning in the cabinet, present so incompatible a 
CH^nji^i. ^^Qjj '^ ^ great historical character, that we are apt 
to consider the combination an anomaly of Byzantine 
society; but an impartial examination of the authentic 
memoirs of modem courts would convince us that a 
candid biography of many brilliant sovereigns, written 
by a daughter to display her learning and eloquence, 
might aflford curious revelations concerning the moral 
obtuseness of other courts and greater princes. 

In weighing the vices of Alexius we must not over- 
look his merits. When he ascended the throne, the 
empire was in a state of anarchy and rebellion — ^its ter- 
ritories were invaded by the Patzinaks, the Turks, and 
the Normans — ^yet he succeeded in arresting its parti- 
tion ; and at a later period, when Europe poured into 
his dominions innumerable hosts of crusaders, whose 
military force set all direct opposition at defiance, his 
prudence and administrative knowledge carried the 
empire through that difficult crisis in safety. His ad- 
mirers may truly say that, by activity, courage, and 
patience, he conducted the government through a 
period of the greatest difficulty, and, like Leo III., 
saved the empire on the very brink of ruin ; but the 
historian must add, that he made no attempt to reor- 
ganise the administration according to the exigencies 
of a new state of society, nor did he seek to infuse new 
vigour and moral principles into the decayed institu- 
tions of his subjects. Now, it was by doing these 
things, more than by defeating the Saracens, that Leo 
III. merited the title of the saviour and second founder 

choroh are embalmed in Anna's eulogy of her fother, which conyeys to our 
minds a worse impression of his character than the conduct of his contempo- 
raries warrants our forming. — See the capture of the pretended Diogenes, p. 
278, and the trick by which the chief of the Bogomilians was entrapped into 
an acknowledgment of heretical opinions while at dinner with the emperor. 
A secretaiy was concealed to take down his words, and when accused, the 
heretic owned his opinions and suffered firmly at the stake. Even Anna's 
account makes the Bogomilian a noble enthusiast, and her father a mean 
traitor.— P. 487. 


of the Eastern Empire. Whether any measures Alexins a. n. 
could have adopted would have effected a reform in ^^^|^®- 
the social and political evils which were destroying the 
Byzantine power, and enabled it to prolong its exist- 
ence, is not a question which history can solve. 

While Alexius was placing the imperial crown on 
his head, his followers were transferring the wealth of 
the imperial city to their knapsacks. But as soon as 
his prize was secured, he felt that, in order to retain 
possession of it, he must immediately repress the dis- 
orders of the troops and assuage the indignation of the 
people. The soldiers were bribed with the little money 
which the extravagant administration of Nicephorus 
IIL had left in the public treasury, to return to their 
standards and submit to discipline. As it was impos- 
sible to make restitution to the plundered citizens, 
Alexius sought to appease the general indignation by 
addressing himself to the religious prejudices of the 
people. The Greek church, imlike the Roman, has 
generally been the servile instrument of princes. The 
emperor was sure of obtaining its pardon, which he 
hoped would prove effectual in appeasing the indigna- 
tion of the laity. Those who had not suffered would 
be edified by the emperor's piety, and those who had 
been plundered would no longer venture to complain 
loudly. Alexius openly accused himself as the unfor- 
tunate cause of the disorders committed by the army, 
loudly expressed his sincere repentance, and humbly 
implored the Patriarch and the synod to impose on 
him a penance to efface the stam of his sin. The 
Greek clergy considered that Heaven would be ap- 
peased by the emperor sleeping on the floor of his 
chamber with a stone for a pillow, by his wearing a 
hair-cloth shirt, and by his eating only dry bread and 
herbs, and drinking nothing but water, for a space of 
twenty days. To Alexius, who was young, hardy, and 



OK III. temperate, this punishment was not very terrific ; and 
' "'^ ' when he found that the pardon of Heaven could be so 
cheaply purchased, he availed himself of his know- 
ledge, when in great want of money after his defeat 
by Robert Guiscard, to seize the wealth of the clergy. 
But the church, though it pardoned the plunder of 
laymen without restitution, would not rest satisfied 
with personal penance alone when the interests of the 
clergy suflFered. 

The Byzantine court operated so powerftdly in acce- 
lerating the decline of the empire, and in preventing 
any reform in the government, that it is necessary to 
notice its constitution at the accession of Alexius. 
Under the Basilian dynasty, eunuchs and slaves had 
acted as generals and ministers, and the public admi- 
nistration had been conducted, as it generally is in the 
absolute monarchies of Asia, like a private estate. 
But Isaac I. had been raised to the throne as the 
leader of the aristocracy, and Alexius was placed in 
the same position. In the interval, however, the re- 
sources and power of the central government had been 
much diminished, and Alexius was compelled to reward 
his aristocratic partisans with a lavish distribution of 
honours and pensions, which imposed a check on his 
own power and a heavy burden on the public revenues. 
In order to attach the family of Ducas to the existing 
state of things, the young Constantine, son of Michael 
VII., received the title of Emperor as the colleague of 
Alexius, and John Ducas quitted the monastic habit 
and resumed his rank as Caesar. The Emperor Alexius 
and the family of Comnenus occupied the great palace, 
and the assemblage of apartments clustered round it, 
which had been fortified by Nicephorus II. (Phokas), 
and towered proudly over the port Boukoleon and the 
hippodrome ; while the Empress Maria, the widow of 
two living husbands, who had been driven from the 


throne into the monastery, resided with her son, the a. d. 

titular Emperor Constantine, and the whole family of _J * 

Ducas, in the palace called Mangana^ on the lower 
ground, towards what is now the Seraglio Point. The 
traitor Nicephorus Melissenos laid down his arms as 
soon as he saw his brother-in-law Alexius firmly seated 
on the throne, and received the rank of Caesar. The 
title of Augustus, in its Greek form Sevastos, was con- 
ferred on several nobles ; but to observe some discri- 
mination in the distribution, it was divided into four 
gradations^ sevastos, protosevastos, panhypersevastos, 
and sevastokrator. ^ New titles were invented to 
gratify inferior partisans, and every title, by insuring 
to its possessor a pension, swelled the imperial civil list, 
increased the burdens of the people, and encroached 
on the resources applicable to the maintenance of the 
army, the navy, and the judicial establishment. The 
profits of a career of court favour eclipsed the highest 
rewards that could be gained in the honourable service 
of the state during the longest life. Attachment to 
the personal interests of the emperor was held to be 
more important than ofl&cial experience and talent in 

Though the personal position of Alexius at the com- 
mencement of his reign was controlled by the influence 
of the leading members of the aristocracy, he soon 
delivered himself from this restraint, and assumed 
despotic power. The admirable central organisation 
of the administrative power enabled the emperor to 

^ ConBtantine Ducas wore the imperial robes, signed the imperial decrees, 
and was named after Alexius in the public prayers. He was betrothed to 
Anna Comnena» but died before they were married. The Roman empire of 
Qennany at a subsequent period contested the pre-eminence in titular absurdities 
with that of Constantinople. The title of protosevastos or archaugustos, with 
the pension annexed to the dignity, was conferred on the doges of Venice, 
Dominico Silvio and Vital Faliero; and the latter was made King of Dalmatin, 
the title on which the doges founded their right to the sovereignty of the 
Adriatic. Aboulkassim, siUtan of Nic«ea, was created sevnstotatos, or most 
august. — Anna Comncna, 161, 174- 


BooKHi. suppress every attempt at provincial independence, 
CH^ji^i. ^^^ ^^^ political ideas and social habits of the people 
favoured the imperial authority as much as the mode 
of conducting public business. The emperor's power 
was still the only guarantee against anarchy ; it was, 
consequently, still popular, though it was no longer 
under the legal restraint which a firm and systematic 
administration of the Eoman law had long imposed on 
the arbitrary acts of its inferior agents. After the 
time of Alexius, the firmest support of despotism in the 
Byzantine empire was in the minds and habits of the 
Greek people, who firom this period became the domi- 
nant race at Constantinople. 

The government of the Roman empire, as we have 
had occasion to observe, exhibited, during its decline, 
a strong tendency to congeal society into fixed orders 
and separate castes or classes. This tyrannical system 
had nearly destroyed the state and exterminated the 
population, when a great effort of the people and a 
series of reforming princes in the Iconoclast period 
saved the empire and modified its institutions into 
their Byzantine type. The effects of time became 
again visible at the end of the eleventh century ; but 
at this latter period the spirit of conservatism per- 
vaded the whole mass of society, and each individual 
citizen clung to the practice of fixed forms and exist- 
ing usages with a tenacity that rendered any reform 
difficult. A persuasion that everything was so perfect 
that it ought to remain stationary, infused as much 
self-conceit into the minds of the people as it did pre- 
sumption into the policy of the emperor. This attach- 
ment to a stationary condition of society was carried 
to such a degree that the relics of old formalities and 
ceremonious usages were considered the essential duties 
of life in civil and ecclesiastical affairs. In this way 
the Greek race voluntarily circumscribed its intellects 


and restrained its reasoning faculties, at the very a. d. 
moment when the nations of western Europe were ^ ^^'""^ ^* 
boldly entering on a career of reform and progress. 
Nor are we to suppose that all means of introducing 
improvement was shut out in the Eastern Empire, had 
the throne been occupied by an emperor of enlarged 
views. The respect universally entertained for the 
Roman law insured the support of popular opinion to 
every measure of judicial reform, and the whole frame 
of society was thus open to amelioration. But to 
enter on the path of law and equity would have com- 
pelled the emperor and the ruling classes to make 
some concessions of fiscal reform, and the patriotism 
necessary to make any considerable sacrifice of per- 
sonal interest was utterly wanting in every class of 
Byzantine society at this period. 

The throne which Alexius had gained by intrigue 
and daring was considered by others also as a lawful 
prize. No sovereign, therefore, had to contend with 
so many rebels. The first rival who claimed the 
throne was a Byzantine monk, who presented himself 
to Robert Guiscard in Italy as the dethroned emperor 
Michael VII. This deception could only have imposed 
on a willing mind, for the real Michael could be seen 
at Constantinople by hundreds who knew his person. 
Michael was so generally despised that, even had he 
cast oflf his episcopal robes and appeared in the Nor- 
man camp, he would have found few of his former 
subjects inclined to replace him on the throne he had 
forfeited. In the year 1084, while Alexius was busily 
engaged with the Norman war, several senators and 
officers of the army engaged in a conspiracy, which 
was discovered before the leaders had enlisted many 
followers. As it was a matter of policy to conceal the 
importance of the plot, Alexius was satisfied with the 
banishment of the wealthiest culprits, and the confisca- 


BOOK in. tion of their estates.^ In 1091, Ariebes, an Armenian, 
CHjL^i. ^^^ Constantine Humbertopoulos, who had assisted 
Alexius in mounting the throne, engaged in a con- 
spiracy, and were treated in the same way. ^ John 
Comnenos, governor of D)rrrachium, son of Isaac, the 
emperor's elder brother, as well as Theodore Gabras, 
who governed Trebizond almost as an independent 
prince, with his son Gregory, who subsequently mar- 
ried Maria^ the emperor's second daughter, were also 
accused of treasonable projects. The Turkish pirate 
Tzachas, who had rendered himself master of Smyrna, 
Chios, Mitylene, Samos, and Rhodes, assumed the title 
of Emperor in the year 1092, and inflicted a sensible 
wound on the vanity of Alexius, by appearing con- 
stantly in public with all the ensigns peculiar to an 
emperor of the Romans. In the same year the fiscal 
oppression of the Byzantine administration produced 
revolts in Crete and Cyprus, where the leaders of the 
insurgents urged the inhabitants to render themselves 
independent ; but Karykas, the Cretan leader, was 
abandoned by his followers, and put to death on the 
first appearance of the imperial fleet ; while Rapso- 
matesy after a feeble resistance, was captured in Cyprus, 
and order was restored in both islands.* 

These troubles were followed by an extensive con- 
spiracy among the members of the imperial family, in 
which the ex-empress Maria and Michael Taronites, a 
brother-in-law of Alexius, took part. If we credit 
the narrative of Anna, Nicephorus Diogenes, son of 
Romanus IV. and Eudocia, undertook to assassinate 
Alexius. Nicephorus and his brother Leo, who was 

^ Anna Comnena, 157. 

' Confitantine HumbertopouloB is supposed to have been the son of 
Humbert, one of the brothers of Robert Ouiscard, who, dissatisfied with 
his share of the Norman conquests in Italy, entered the Byzantine service. 
— Duoange, notes to Anna Comnena, p. 246, cxL Par. ; page 31 of notes in tlie 
Ven. edit 

' Anna Comnena, 248. Zonanis, ii. 298. Qlycas, 883. 


killed in a battle with the Patzinaks, had been crowned a. d. 


in their infancy, but after their father's captivity they ' 

were deprived of the imperial title, and confined in a 
monastery by the Caesar John Ducas and Michael VII. 
Nicephorus was admired for his handsome athletic 
figure, popular manners, skill in warlike exercises, 
generosity, and courage, so that whenever he appeared 
in public he was received by the people with Mendly 
salutations. Such popularity is dangerous in a des- 
potic government, yet it is said that he first excited 
suspicion at court by an open violation of etiquette, 
and then made some very awkward attempts to mur- 
der the emperor. Anna^ indeed, represents his conduct 
as that of a person verging on insanity. He was 
arrested and put to the torture, which, it was said, 
compelled him to reveal his accomplices. He and 
Eatakalon Kekavmenos, who had commanded under 
Alexius at the battle of Kalavrya, lost their eyes ; the 
fortune of Michael Taronites was confiscated, but the 
ex-empress Maria^ being the mother of Alexius by 
adoption, escaped all punishment. After the loss of 
his eyes, Nicephorus Diogenes devoted his time to 
study, and made great progress in geometry by means 
of figures in relief which were prepared for his use. 
The fate of Nicephorus affected public opinion so 
powerfully that an impostor, who assumed the charac- 
ter of Constantino, the eldest son of Romanus by his 
first marriage, was generally welcomed. Though Con- 
stantine had been killed at the battle of Antioch, in 
which Isaac Comnenus, the emperor's elder brother, 
had been taken prisoner, twenty years before the ap- 
pearance of the impostor, he yet found credit with 
many persons of rank in the capital. Alexius, in 
alarm, banished him to Cherson, from whence he 
escaped to the Romans, whom he induced to invade 
the empire. The hostile army advanced as far as 


BOOK m, Adrianople, when Alexius was released from the fear 

Ch II 8 1 

' of this dangerous rebel by a Byzantine officer, who 

decoyed him into an ambuscade and took him prisoner. 
He was deprived of sight,^ (a.d. 1094). 

While the armies of the Crusaders threatened Con- 
stantinople, no one ventured to intrigue against the 
government of Alexius, who was generally considered 
the only man capable of directing the state. But in 
1106, when affiars appeared more tranquil, new com- 
petitors were again eager to seize the throne. Salo- 
mon, a senator of great wealth, but a vain literary 
coxcomb, who aflfected the character of a philosopher, 
engaged in a plot with four brothers named Anemas, 
descendants of that Anemas who had been slain in 
a battle with Swiatoslaff.^ The plot was discovered ; 
the wealth of the philosophic Salomon and several of 
his accomplices was confiscated. The four brothers, 
whose descent from the Saracen emir of Crete was not 
forgotten, were conducted through the streets of Con- 
stantinople mounted on oxen, the hair of their heads 
and beards torn out with pitch plaster, crowned with 
horns, and decorated with entrails. After this, they 
were imprisoned in a tower near the palace of Blachem, 
which retained the name of the Tower of Anemas until 
the city was conquered by the Turks. About the same 
time Gregory Tironites, who had acted as an indepen- 
dent prince in the government of Trebizond, was 

^ Compare Anna Comn., 196, 256, 271, and Kiceph. Bijen., 66. Con- 
Btantine Diogenes, the eldest son of Romanus IV., was married to Theodora, 
the sister of Alexius, and the battle of Antioch happened towards the end of 
the reign of Michael VII., when the eldest child of Romanus and Eudocia could 
not have been more than twelve years old; correct, therefore, Ducange, Fam. 
Aug. Byz., 173. That Romanus had a son who was old enough at the time of 
his death to think of revenge, must be infeircd from the words of William 
of ApuUa, lib. ii. p. 1 15, Carusius, BiUiotheea regni /Sicilio!, tom. L : — 

Kamque sibi socios Romaui flliufi addons 
ArmenoB, Pcrsas, &c. 

* Leo DiaconuB, 153, ed. Bonn. Anemas, who was killed fighting valiantly 
in the Russian war, was the son of Kuroup the emir of Crete, whom Nicopho- 
rus IL (Phokas) had earned captive to Constantinople. — Zonaras, 301. 


brought prisoner to Constantinople by his cousin John, a. d. 

• X ^ 1081 1118 

and imprisoned in the same tower.^ _J ' 

The following year (1107) a new plot was formed 
to murder Alexius by an illegitimate descendant of 
Aaron the Bulgarian prince, who was assassinated by 
his brother Samuel, king of Achrida. The emperor was 
encamped near Thessalonica, but the presence of the 
empress and her attendants rendered the execution of 
the plot difficult. Libels and satires were placed in 
the imperial tent, in the hope that Irene would be in- 
duced to quit the encampment. A search for the 
author of these libels brought to light the whole plot, 
yet Aaron was only banished, in consequence of his 
connection with the royal line of Bulgaria, whose blood 
flowed in the veins of the empress.^ 

We are inclined to give Alexius credit for extreme 
moderation, when we find him condemning those who 
are said to have been convicted of plotting his murder 
merely to imprisonment and banishment ; but as he 
condemned heretics to be burned alive, we are com- 
pelled to suspect that the accusation of having plotted 
against his life was in many cases a charge added to 
the real crimes of the culprit, merely to increase the 
public indignation, and that Alexius knew the charge 
was without foimdation, though his daughter Anna 
readily adopted every prejudice against those who had 
certainly shown hostility to her father's authority and 
person. The want of all political principle among the 
courtiers, and of aU attachment to the government 
among the people, are, however, proved incontestably 
by these numerous conspiracies. 

The unpopularity of Alexius among the people was 
caused by the severity with which the public taxes 
were collected, by the injustice of the monopolies he 

^ Anna ConuL, 864. Note at page 363 of Medieval Greece and Tr^nzond, 
' Anna Comn., 377. 


BOOK III. created for the profit of the fisc and of members of 
CH^^i. ^j^^ imperial family, and by the frauds he committed 
in adulterating the coinage. This mode of cheating 
his subjects was carried to a greater extent by Alexius 
than it had been by any of his predecessors, and is one 
of the strongest symptoms of the incurable decline in 
the government of the Byzantine empire. A govern- 
ment which systematically commits such frauds is 
utterly demoralised; and a people which is so weak as 
to submit to such oppression, has sunk into a hopeless 
state of degradation. Alexius paid the public debts in 
his own debased coinage, but he enforced payment of 
the taxes, as long as it was possible, in the pure 
coinage of earlier emperors.^ The ruin produced by 
these measures at last compelled him to adopt new 
regulations for collecting the land-tax ; and the credit 
of his coinage became so bad throughout all the coun- 
tries in Europe in which Byzantine gold had previously 
circulated, that the emperor was compelled, in all his 
public acts with foreigners, to stipulate that he would 
make all his payments in the gold coins of his pre- 
decessors of the name of MichaeL The decline of 
Byzantine commerce in the Mediterranean may be 
traced to these measures of Alexius, which ruined the 
credit of the Greek merchants, and transferred a large 
quantity of capital from the cities of the empire to the 
republics of Italy. 

Ecclesiastical animosities and religious persecutions 
contributed their share to increase the disorders in the 

^ Zonaras ii. 298. Glycas, 833. Some of his gold coins were almost entirely 
composed of copper, and he melted down many ancient works of art to supply 
his mint A very carious tariff for the collection of the public taxes has 
been published in the Analeota OrcBoa of the Benedictines, Paris, 1688, 4to, 
p. 316. It indicates that much confusion had arisen during the reign of 
Alexius in collecting the tribute and the surchaiiges of taxes, but it does not 
explain how this arose, nor in what way it was connected with the adidteration 
of the coinaga In the treaty with Bohemund for the evacuation of the Byzan- 
tine territory, signed at Deavolis in 1108, Alexius was obliged to stipulate that 
his payments should be made in byzants of the coinage of Michael. — Anna 
Comn., 328. 


empire. Though Alexius was both superstitious and a. d. 
hypocritical, his necessities, after the Norman war, ' ^*"'" ^' 
induced him to assemble a servile synod of Greek 
ecclesiastics, who authorised him to employ the wealth 
accumulated as offerings in the churches for the public 
service. But this act was violently opposed by many 
of the clergy, and Leo, bishop of Chalcedon, went so 
far as to maintain that the government had committed 
sacrilege in melting down sacred objects which were 
entitled to the adoration of Christians. Alexius took 
advantage of his imprudence in attributing more 
than orthodox importance to these objects ; and his 
opinions being condemned by a synod as heretical, he 
was banished to Sozopolis, where, however, the people 
regarded him as a saint. The general indignation soon 
forced the emperor to peld to public opinion, and he 
published a golden buU ordering restitution to be 
made for all the sacred plate already employed for the 
public service, and declaring it to be sacrilege for any 
one in future to apply church plate to profane uses.* 

Soon after this Constantinople was troubled by dis- 
putes arising out of the opinions taught by a professor 
of philosophy named Italos, from the native coimtry of 
his father. Italos had succeeded Psellos as the chief 
of the philosophers, and his lectures on the Platonic 
philosophy had gained him so much popularity and 
influence as a teacher that the clergy became jealous. 
They soon discovered a taint of heresy in his opinions, 
and the Patriarch Eustratios Garidhas, who supported 
him, was deposed. Nikolaos the Grammarian was 
appointed Patriarch, and Italos was compelled to re- 
cant his opinions publicly in the church of St Sophia, 
(a.d. 1084).2 

' Leundavius and Freherr., Jua €hrcBeo-Romam.%mj L 124. This bull is dated 
▲.M. 6690, in the fifth indiotion, a.d. 1082; but Lebeau, xv. 174, coi^ectures, 
with great probability, that it ought to bear date in 1084.— See Anna Comn., 156. 

' Compare Anna Comn., 143 and 273 ; and for the works of Italos, see 


BOOK m. The heresy of Italos afforded some mental occupa- 
CH^n^i. ^^^^ £^^ ^j^^ people of the capital, but it was followed 
by a Paulician rebellion, which inflicted many evils on 
the inhabitants of Thrace. Various Asiatics, generally 
tainted with heretical opinions, had been established in 
the neighbourhood of Philippopolis firom the time of 
Constantine V., and had long been remarkable for 
their industry, and the vigour they displayed in con- 
ducting their local affairs. Their moral education was 
excellent, though their religious opinions were deficient 
in Grecian orthodoxy. Their lands were well culti- 
vated and bravely defended, and their commercial 
dealings extended over a great part of western Europe. 
After the conquest of the Paulician state at Tephrike 
by Basil I., nimibers of that sect had established them- 
selves in Thrace, where other Asiatic colonists united 
with them.^ When Alexius marched against Robert 
Guiscard, two thousand eight hundred of these Pauli- 
cians joined his army as the military contingent they 
were bound to furnish ; but having lost three himdred 
men in the defeat at Dyrrachium, the remainder, 
instead of rallying in the imperial camp, returned 
home. After the conclusion of the war, Alexius deter- 
mined to punish them for. this desertion, and destroy 
their communal system. He established himself at 
Mosynopolis,^ where he summoned the principal men 
of the Paulicians to his presence. By separating them 
from one another he disarmed the whole. A judicial 
sentence was then promulgated, depriving them of 
their property ; and their families were expelled from 
their houses with great cruelty. It happened that a 

Schoell, Oeschiekte der Oritckiadhen lAUeraiur, iii. 421, and Notiee$ et ExtraU* 
dm M88. de la Bibliothiqve duMoide Franee, vol iz. pt. ii p. 149. 

^ A oonaiderable addition was made to the Paulician colony about Philippo- 
polia by John I. (ZimiBkea), who transported many settlers into Thrace from 
the Chaldean and Armeniao themes. — Anna Comn., 461. Zonaras, ii. 305. 

* Mosynopolis was the ancient Mazimianopolis in the province of Rhodope, 
ninety miles distant from Philippopolis. 


Paulician, who had been baptised during the reign of a. d. 
Nicephorus III., and had attained the rank of domes- ^ ^^"^^^ ^' 
tikos^ heard that his four sisters had been driven from 
their home.^ Eager to avenge the cause of his family 
and countrymen, he seized a fortress called Veliatova^ 
and plimdered the property of the orthodox Greeks 
and Bulgarians to the very walls of Philippopolis. In 
the year 1086 he effected a junction with a colony of 
Fatzinaks which had crossed the Danube, and extended 
his expeditions over all Thrace. Pakuvian, the grand 
domestikos of the West, and Branas, were sent to 
arrest his progress, but the Byzantine army was com- 
pletely defeated, and both its generals were slain. 
After this the Patzinak war insured impimity to their 
Paulician allies for a considerable period; but towards 
the end of his reign, Alexius found time to think of 
converting these heretics. Many were established in a 
new town called Alexiopolis or Neokastron. Some 
affected to be converted by the arguments of the em- 
peror, but others persisted in their hereditary heresies. 
Partly on account of the aversion entertained by the 
provincial population to the imperial government, whose 
fiscal severity became from age to age more burden- 
some, and partly on account of national antipathies, 
roused into activity by the arrogance which the Greeks 
displayed as soon as they could assume the position of 
a dominant race, a very general desire was felt by the 
inhabitants of Thrace and Bulgaria to emancipate them- 
selves from the ecclesiastical power of the Greek church. 
This sentiment had long supplied the Paulicians with 
a perpetual influx of votaries, and enabled them to 

^ This Paulician domeetikoB is only mentioned by Anna Comnena under his 
nickname of TravloB, the Stammerer, from which it would seem that he spoke 
Greek with some hesitation, or with a foreign accent. Her own father was 
called also by the same nickname, from a r^ defect in his speech, though 
probably slight; and when Eosilakes broke into his tent in the night atta^, 
he shouted, ** Where is the Stammerer ? '* Anna says he had only a difficulty 
in pronouncing "r." — Compare p. 19 and 157. 


BOOK iiL increase in numbers while the population of the pro- 

ch^^i^i. yj^^g around them was sensibly diminishing. Other 

heresies also derived a portion of their success from this 

general feeling of opposition to the central authority of 

the church and state. 

The original constitution of the Eastern Church had 
been well suited to prevent the formation of heresies 
based on national feelings, for it admitted the formation 
of a separate ecclesiastical establishment in each nation, 
while its central government, by general councils, 
rendered the subdivision of the hierarchy into a num- 
ber of independent churches highly advantageous both 
to the cause of morals among the priesthood and of 
religion among the people. The power of emperors 
and popes put an end to this early constitution of the 
churcL The emperor enslaved the Patriarch of Con- 
stantinople, and the Patriarch enslaved those Christians 
who remained in communion with the Greek church. 
Still, wherever a nation was politically independent, it 
wished also to be so ecclesiastically. Men may unite 
voluntarily to receive the dogmas of a common religion, 
but they cannot accept a foreign ecclesiastical establish- 
ment without some feeling of hostility to the foreign 
priesthood which invades their independence. This 
feeling gained so great strength in Bulgaria, as to render 
the Bulgarian hierarchy at last independent of the 
priesthood at Constantinople. Though the king and 
people of Bulgaria had adopted all the rites and cere- 
monies of the Eastern Church, and rejected the solicita- 
tions of the popes to acknowledge the supremacy of 
Rome, they nevertheless seized the opportunity, when 
it presented itself, to constitute their own ecclesiastical 
establishment as a national church, under a patriarch 
entirely independent of the jurisdiction of the Patri- 
arch of Constantinople. This was probably effected in 
practice long before it received its official recognition 


from the Byzantine emperor and the Patriarch of Con- a. d. 
stantinople. At length, however, the victorious army ^ ^^"^"^ 
of Simeon, king of the Bulgarians, was enabled to 
dictate terms of peace to the Emperor Romanus I. in 
the year 923, and one of the stipulations of the 
treaty appears to have been that the emperor and 
the Byzantine church should publicly recognise the 
primate of the Bulgarians as a patriarch equal in 
authority to the other patriarchs of the Eastern Church, 
In virtue of that treaty, the Patriarch of Constan- 
tinople was compelled to acknowledge the complete 
independence of the Bulgarian church, and to ad- 
mit the Patriarch of Bulgaria to all the ecclesiastical 
honours and rank held by the patriarchs of Antioch, 
Alexandria, and Jerusalem.^ It is true that the con- 
quest of Bulgaria by John I. (Zimiskes) put an end to 
the national independence and the patriarchal dig- 
nity in about fifty years ; but neither the Emperor 
John nor his successors could eradicate the feelings of 
hostility to the ecclesiastical domination of the Greeks, 
which had sunk deep into the hearts of the Bulgarian 
and Sclavonian population. 

It is to the influence of these national feelings, rather 
than to the mystical religious doctrines which the 
Paulicians had brought with them from the East, that 
we must ascribe the growth of the sect called Bogomi- 
lians. Their name is derived from the Sclavonian 

^ Dttcange, Fanu Aug, Byz., 175. The imperfect list of archbishops given 
by Ducange proves that the recognition of the patriarchal dignity in the head 
of the Bulgarian church was one of the stipulations of the treaty. — See page 
869 of the preceding volume of this work. Le Quien, in his Oriem Oirutianus, 
quite overlooks this independent position of the Bulgarian church from a.d. 
923 to 972. When Samuel founded the Bulgaro- Sclavonic kingdom of Achrida, 
he invested the metropolitan of his capital with patriarchal authority in his 
dominions. Some remains of this jurisdiction, though mixed with other 
changes, have been perpetuated to the present day. Rycaut, 2'he Pretent State 
of the Greek Church, page 89, mentions that in his time eighteen bishops were 
under the immediate authority of the metropolitan of Achrida. — See post. 
The Archbishop of Temovo received the patriarchal dignity by treaty a.d. 1284. 
— See post. 



BOOK III. language, and the sect liad its origin among the Sola* 
^ "'"^ vonian population of Thrace and Bulgaria.^ It is not 
necessary to trace the first principle of their dissent 
from the Byzantine church to intellectual speculations, 
tending to harmonise the Oriental doctrines con- 
cerning the existence of good and evil* as two distinct 
powers in the universe with the Gospel dispensation^ 
but, on the other hand, there can be no doubt that the 
Paulicians and Catharists, who had derived their reli- 
gious sentiments directly from Oriental sources, mingled 
some of their mystical tenets with the opinions of the 
Bogomilians. Among the mass of the Sclavonians in 
the Byzantine empire, however, the origin of heresy 
was simply hatred of the Greek church on account of 
its simony, aversion to the Greek ecclesiastics on 
account of their corruption, and a craving for some 
purer religious instruction than was offered by an esta- 
blished church, in which religion was suffocated by 
mechanical forms and unmeaning ceremonies. This is 
proved clearly by the sympathies which the Bogomi- 
lians manifested for the memory as well as the doctrines 
of the Iconoclasts, and their hostility to the adoration 
of the Virgin and of saints. At the same time, there 
is convincing proof that they adopted some of their 
heretical opinions from the Paulician and Euchite 
teachers, who never ceased to preach the doctrines of 
an Oriental theosophy throughout Thrace and Bulgaria 
during the tenth and eleventh centuries. 

The Bogomilian heresy was propagated among the 

^ There are two derivations of the name. In the Sclavonian language, Bog 
is Qod^ and militi, hatt mercy, and the name is taken to signify those who seek 
the DiTine mercy. BogumU, which signifies one beloved by God, is, however, 
by some considered the true derivation. Our biowledge of the tenets of the 
Bogomilians is chiefly derived from the Panoplia Dogmatica, a work composed 
by Euthymius Zygabenus, under the patronage of Alexius, as a general refuta- 
tion of heretical opinions. There is an edition of this work published in 1710 
in Vallachia, and a new one, edited by Dr Gieseler, 1842. Neander's Hittorf of 
the (^riaian Rdigion and Chvrek, vol. iv. 552, translated by Professor Torrey, 
contains a full account of this sect. 


Sclayonian population for some time before it excited a. d. 
the attention of the church at Constantinople ; but at ^ ^^^""^ ^' 
last its followers became so numerous as to cause alarm 
among the Byzantine clergy. When the Emperor 
Alexius was fully informed of the progress the sect was 
making, he readily joined the Patriarch in rousing the 
prejudices of the orthodox against the new heresy. 
His politic spirit felt the importance of forming a close 
alliance with the clergy on a question where the 
interests of the church were more directly involved 
than those of the state ; and he was eager to avail him- 
self of a favourable opportunity of awakening passions 
in the minds of the people which would tend to divert 
their attention from the political errors, fiscal abuses, 
and lavish expenditure of the imperial government. 
The Bogomilian teachers had, however, made so little 
public display of their opinions, that they were only 
discovered by means of spies ; and perhaps they might 
have escaped all notice in the political history of the 
time, had the Emperor Alexius not engaged in personal 
discussions with Basilios their leader ; a controversy 
which the imperial theologian terminated by commit- 
ting his inflexible opponent to the flames as a heretic. 
The conduct of Alexius in the whole transaction fixes 
a deeper stain on his character than any mystical spe- 
culation could reflect on his adversary. 

A Bogomilian who was put to the torture by the 
imperial officers revealed to them that a monk named 
Basilios was regarded as the leader of the sect, and that 
he liad selected twelve teachers to act as his apostles. 
When Basilios was brought before the emperor, his 
demeanour was modest and respectful; his figure was 
good, but his thin beard gave his withered coimtenance 
the air of an ascetic more than of an enthusiast. His 
manners and conversation made the emperor look on 
him as a worthy antagonist. The Emperor Alexius, 


BOOK m. as his daughter infonns us repeatedly, prided himself 
^"' ' more on gaining his ends than on choosing honourable 
paths. He received BasiUos with an appearance of 
frankness, and he even invited him to enter on the dis- 
cussion of religious opinions, in order to make a public 
display of the political cunning with which he could 
deceive a heresiarch who had deceived thousands. The 
learned Anna even boasts that her father knew how to 
rub sweets on the rim of the cup he induced his anta- 
gonist to swallow, and how, with a dose of flattery, he 
purged the Bogomilian monk of his heretical opinions.^ 
*' I am anxious," said the imperial hypocrite, " to hear 
the opinions of your reverence, and learn all the argu- 
ments by which you have laboured to correct the vain 
superstitions of our clergy." The courtiers supposed 
that the ascetic was misled by flattery ; it is more 
likely he deceived himself by enthusiasm, and expected 
to make Alexius a convert to truth. He knew but 
little of the emperor. Roused by his subject, however, 
Basilios fully explained all his objections to the esta- 
blished church, and revealed the full extent of his 
heretical opinions, while an imperial secretary, concealed 
behind a curtain, committed his words to writing. 
When the discussion was terminated, the emperor drew 
aside the curtain and showed Basilios that he had been 
speaking with the patriarch and the most bigoted 
members of the senate and clergy as his audience. 
His conviction and condemnation as a heretic before 
the patriarchal tribunal of Nikolaos the Grammarian 
followed as a matter of course, and as he refused to 
renounce his opinions, he was ordered to be burned at 
the stake. This sentence was passed about the year 
1110, but it was not carried into execution imtil the 
year 1 1 1 8 ; for Anna mentions that it was one of the last, 
and, in her opinion, one of the most glorious acts of 

^ Anna Comnena, 487. 


her father's life to bum the heretic.^ Every solicitation 
was employed to induce Basilios to retract, and own 
himself a convert to the imperial arguments, but all 
was vain; and the courageous demeanour of the heretic 
induced the people to believe that he expected angels 
to descend from heaven to release Iiitti from the stake. 
The clergy, however, pretended that he was tormented 
in his cell by demons, who stoned him during the night 
for revealing their secrets.^ He was burned in the 
hippodrome, and suflfered with the firmness of the 
noblest martyrs. The spectacle of a fellow-creature 
committed to the flames was so agreeable to the popu- 
lace of Constantinople, that they shouted to the emperor 
to bring out more heretics to be burned ; but Alexius 
prudently cut short the tumult by dismissing the 
assembly. On another occasion, the emperor ordered 
two fires to be lighted in the tchukanesterion for the 
purpose of burning other Bogomilians; but some, having 
shown a disposition to recant, were immediately released, 
and the others who remained firm in their opinions 
were remanded to prison.^ 

It is necessary to notice an example of the supersti- 
tion of Alexius, in order to show how completely his 
mind was ruled by the spirit of false devotion prevalent 
in his age and nation. As Alexius was riding with 
his elder brother Isaac, before he ascended the throne, 
a reverend old man in the garb of a priest approached 

^ The date of these traosactioDs is proved by Anna. She mentions that Niko- 
laos was Patriarch when Basilios was entrapped and condemned, and that his 
execution was her father's vrarov fpyov /col obXov, pp. 488, 492, 495. The Patri- 
arch Nikolaos died in the year 1111. Compare Zonaras, 800, and Cuper, De 
Patriarchii Conpotit, p. 131, sect 776. 

' Anna says that she had been assured of the fact by one of the guards, 489. 

s It became the fashion of the Qreek church to accuse every one who wished 
to reform any of its abuses, of holding the heretical opinions of the Bogomi- 
lians. The Patriarch Kosmas Attikos, a native of Aigina, was deposed by a 
synod in the reign of Manuel, ▲.£. 1147, for defending a monk condemned as a 
Bogomilian. Kosmas is represented by Niketas as a model of virtue ; but he 
admits that he was very passionate, for he imprecated curses on all his opponents, 
and prayed that the empress might never give birth to an heir. — ^Niketas, 58. 

A. D. 



BOOK in. and whispered in his ear the words of the Psalmist, 
chmiji^i. « A.dvance prosperously and reign, because of truth, 
meekness, and righteousness." He then exclaimed, " 
Emperor Alexius T and suddenly disappeared. Both 
brothers sought the strange priest in vain ; and though 
Alexius pretended to consider the apparition as an 
illusion of the imagination, his daughter asserts that in 
his heart he was persuaded that he had received a direct 
revelation from St John the Evangelist, the son of 
thunder.! On a later occasion, he gave a curious in- 
stance of his confidence in a belief that God habitually 
revealed his will to mortals. In the year 1 094, when the 
Komans invaded the empire to support the pretended 
Diogenes, Alexius, in the presence and with the parti- 
cipation of the Patriarch Nikolaos, consulted the will 
of Heaven by depositing on the high altar of St Sophia's 
two rolls inscribed with the questions whether the Ko- 
mans were to be attacked or not to be attacked. A priest, 
ignorant of the contents of the two rolls, was ordered 
to approach the altar, after the Patriarch had performed 
divine service, and take up one of the papers, which 
was unfolded, and its contents read to the emperor. 
The communication thus obtained appeared to him an 
oracle of God, commanding him to march against the 

When the emperor was so completely under the 
guidance of superstition, it is not surprising that his 
conduct was extremely inconsistent. At times the 
imggestions of reason and true religion could not fail 

1 Septuagint, Psal. xliv. 5 ; English Bible, PaaL xlv. 4 ; Anna, 69. The lead- 
ing men of the Eastern Empire were said to be frequently honoured by revela- 
tions, and a supernatural world of saints and apparitions pervades Byzantine 
history as one of gods and goddesses mixed with the heroic age of Greece. This 
weak condition of the human intellect in the middle ages must never be lost 
sight of, though it is apt to be forgotten, as no poetry records the visits of the 
saints in Greek society. Shakespeare has made Macbeth's witches immortal, but 
the visions of Greece are dull, and its saints dead— 

" Verse echoes not one beating of their hearts." 

* Anna Comnena, 69, 273. 



to overpower his fanatical fancies. We find him, ac- jl d. 
cordingly, at times favouring popular preachers whose 
avowed theme was the eulogy of some beloved saint, 
and at times persecuting these orators because their 
doctrines were suspected of heretical or seditious ten- 
dencies. At times he tolerated, and at times he per- 
secuted astrologers; for these impostors frequently 
made the imperial crown one of the prizes which 
futurity allowed them to distribute. An Athenian 
astrologer was allowed to sell his predictions to the 
Constantinopolitans unmolested, while an Alexandrian 
was banished for mixing too much truth in his pre- 
dictions. A hermit named Nilos, who had gained 
great popularity as a public preacher, was accused of 
heresy, and the emperor was led by his inordinate 
vanity to engage in personal controversy with the en- 
thusiast; but the monk foiled his theological skill, and 
defied his earthly power by expressing his readiness to 
sufier martyrdom for the truth.^ 

One of the earliest acts of the reign of Alexius was 
to conclude a treaty of peace with the Seljouk emir 
Suleiman, who acted in Asia Minor as if he were com- 
pletely independent of the Grand Sultan Malekshah. 
The treachery of Nicephorus Melissenos had placed 
Suleiman in possession of Nicsea, and his troops occu- 
pied several posts on the shores of the Bosphorus and 
the Sea of Marmora ; while Alexius, who required the 

^ Professor Ross has published, from a copy made by a Greek teacher named 
Daniel, the charter under the golden seal or golden bull of the Emperor 
Alexius, granting the island of Patmosto the monk Christodoulos for the foun- 
dation of the monastery of St John. This document contains a curious enume- 
ration of the yarious fiscal exactions to which the subjects of the empire were 
liable. The date is a.d. 1088, for the Constantinopolitan era of the world 
counts only 5508 years before the birth of Christ— not, as Ross supposes, 5516. 
— Dr Ludwig Ross, Reiaen aufden Griechtachen Inteln der Ogdiichen Meerafhaad 
ii. p. 135, 179. The monarchy established by the three powers in Greece 
to represent European civilisation might have rendered some service to the 
history of the Greek race by publishing copies of the forty or fifty original 
golden bulls and grants which Ross mentions existed at the monastery of Pat- 
mosin 1841. 


BooKm. whole forces of the empire to resist the invasion of 
°'°'* * Robert Guiscard, was compelled to purchase peace at 
any price. Under such circumstances, it was only to 
be expected that the immediate neighbourhood of Con- 
stantinople could be kept free from the Turks, and 
accordingly the boundaries of the Roman empire in 
Asia Minor were by this treaty reduced to very narrow 
limits. The country immediately opposite the capital, 
as far as the mouth of the river Sangarius and the 
head of the gulf of Nicomedia, was evacuated by the 
Turks, as well as the coast of the Sea of Marmora, from 
the little stream called Drako, which falls into the gulf 
of Nicomedia, westward to the city of Prusias. Already 
the mountains of the Turkish territory were visible 
from the palace of Alexius and the dome of St Sophia ; 
but the Crusades were destined to repel this torrent of 
Mohammedan invasion from the shores of Europe for 
several centuries.^ 

The spirit of enterprise and conquest which, when 
placed under the guidance of religious enthusiasm, 
carried the bravest warriors of western Europe as 
Crusaders to the East, had, in the preceding genera- 
tion, under the direction of civU wisdom, produced the 
conquest of England and southern Italy by the Nor- 
mans. These conquests had raised their military 
reputation and self-confidence to the highest pitch; and 
Robert Guiscard, who was lord of dominions in Italy 
far superior in wealth to the duchy of Normandy, 
hoped to eclipse the exploits of Duke WiUiam in Eng- 
land by conquering the Byzantine empire. But as he 
knew that he must expect a more prolonged resistance 
than England had offered to its conqueror, he sought 
a pretext for commencing the war which would con- 
ceal his own object, and have a tendency to induce a 

^ Anna Comnena, 96. For ohronological lists of ihe SeQouk grand sultana 
and sultans of Roum, seo Appendix, I., II., at the end of this volume. 


party in the country to take up arms against the a. d. 
government he was anxious to overthrow. His ' ^^"^^^^ ' 
daughter Helena had been betrothed to Constantine 
Dukas, the son of Michael VH., and was still so young 
that she was residing in the imperial palace at Con- 
stantinople, to receive her education, when Michael 
was dethroned. Nicephorus IH. sent the child to a 
convent, and Eobert her father stood forward as the 
champion of Michael's right to recover the throne from 
which he had been expelled. Under the cover of this 
pretext, the Norman expected to render himself master 
of Constantinople, or at all events to gain possession 
of the rich provinces on the eastern shore of the 

The preparations of Robert Guiscard were far ad- 
vanced when Alexius ascended the throne. To inflame 
the zeal of his troops, he persuaded Pope Gregory VII. 
that a Greek monk, who had assumed the character 
of Michael VII., was reaUy the dethroned emperor, 
and thus induced the Pope to approve of his expedi- 
tion, and to grant absolution to all the invaders of 
the Byzantine empire, as if they had been about to 
commence a holy war.^ The soldiers were impressed 
with a deep conviction of the justice of their cause at 
its outset, and when the imposture of the Greek monk 
was generally acknowledged, they were inflamed with 
hopes of plunder and glory. 

In the month of June 1081, Robert Guiscard sailed 
from Brindisi with a well-appointed fleet of a himdred 
and fifty ships, carrying an army of thirty thousand 
chosen troops. His first operation was to render him- 
self master of the rich island of Corcyra (Corfu), which 
then yielded an annual revenue of fifteen hundred 

* Greg, vii., epist. Tiii. 6., a.d. 1080. Anna, 28, and Gaufred, Malaterra, iii. 
c. 18 (CaruBio, L 210), both agree concerning the imposture of the monk and 
the ambitious projects of Robert 


BOOK in. pounds* weight of gold to the Byzantine government. 

CBLH^i. g^ ^^^^ seized the ports of Butrinto, Avlona, and 
Kanino, on the mainland, and laid siege to the impor- 
tant city of Dyxrachium, the strongest fortress on the 
eastern coast of the Adriatic, and the capital of Byzan- 
tine lUyria. It was fortimate for the empire that 
Creorge Paleologos, one of its bravest officers, had 
entered the place before Robert commenced the siege. 

Alexius immediately hastened to the relief of Dyrra- 
chium with as large an army as it was in his power to 
assemble. He had endeavoured to raise up every 
obstacle to Robert's expedition, and still hoped that 
the Emperor of Germany, Henry IV., would cause a 
serious diversion in his favour by attacking the Norman 
dominions in Italy. To induce the German emperor 
to do this, Alexius had paid him a subsidy of 144,000 
byzants, and sent him many valuable presents ; but 
Henry was too deeply engaged in his contest with 
Pope Gregory to spare either time or troops to act 
against the Normans in southern Italy, and the Byzan- 
tine empire gained little by his alliance.^ The Vene- 
tians proved more valuable allies. Alexius solicited 
their assistance, as bound to aid the empire by the ties 
of their ancient allegiance; and he engaged not only to 
pay them for their services, but also to make good any 
losses of ships which they might sustain by the war. 
The interests of Venice bound them to the cause of the 
Byzantine government at this time. They were alarmed 

* Anna, 94, gives an interesting letter from her father to Henry. The pre- 
sents were a hundred vlattia or pieces of purple silk, a gold cross set with 
pearls as an ornament for the neck, a gold box enclosing the relics of various 
saints, whose names were inscribed on the respective fhigments, a vase of sar- 
donyx, a bowl of crystal, a gold ornament containing a protective charm against 
thunder, and parcels of the richest essences. Two hundred and sixteen thou- 
sand nomismata were also promised to be paid as soon as Henry entered Lorn- 
bardy, as the Byzantines called southern Italy. It is remarkable that Alexius 
mentions that the subsidy was paid in silver coin of the old Roman standard. 
This is a proof, among many others, that Byzantine silver was by no means 
rare in ancient times. Alexius must have found some difficulty in procuring 
gold, or he would doubtless have preferred sending it, on account of the greater 
fiicility of transport 


lest their lucrative trade with Greece and the Levant a. d. 

should be placed at the mercy of the rapacious Nor- _! * 

mans, in case Bobert Guiscard should succeed in gain- 
ing possession of the entrance of the Adriatic. They 
plunged, therefore, into the war without hesitation or 

The Doge Dominic Sylvio sailed from Venice with a 
powerful fleet to attack the Normans before the Em- 
peror Alexius could collect his army and march to the 
relief of Dyrrachium. The Norman fleet, which was 
commanded by Bohemund, the illustrious son of Robert 
Guiscard, suffered a complete defeat, and the commu- 
nications of the invading army with Italy were cut offl 
This difficulty only excited Robert to press the siege 
with additional vigour. He employed every device 
then known for the attack of towns. Towers of wood 
were prepared in frame ; battering-rams were used to 
shake the walls, and balists to sweep the defenders 
from their simmiits. But the fortifications of Dyrra- 
chium were too solid to be seriously injured by the 
feeble machines the Normans had prepared. The im- 
mense blocks of stone that formed their foundations 
were the work of the ancient Greeks who first colonised 
Epidamnus. The more modem superstructure was so 
broad that four horsemen could ride abreast on its 
summit, and it was flanked at proper intervals by 
towers raised eleven feet above the line of the curtain.^ 

The mode of attack generally most successful in that 
age consisted in filling up the ditch, and pushing for- 
ward a high wooden tower close to the walls. This 
structure, which moved on rollers, was furnished with 
a drawbridge, which, reaching the ramparts of the place, 
enabled the storming party to come to an engagement 
with its defenders hand to hand. Robert had at first 
attempted to take Dyrrachium by escalade, and for that 

^ Anna Comnena, 884. 


BOOK m. purpose had brought up the usual battering machines 
CHLiM^i. ^ ^j^g^ ^g possible to the body of the place, but all his 
attacks had been repulsed. Showers of stones, and 
torrents of burning naphtha and Greek fire, had broken 
the ladders and burned the tortoises and pavisses of 
the assailants, while Paleologos, in several desperate 
sallies, had destroyed the greater part of the battering- 
rams and balists. The only hope of taking the place 
before the arrival of the emperor was at last concentred 
on a mighty wooden tower which Robert Guiscard had 
constructed firom the timbers of his ships which the 
Venetians had rendered useless. This fabric, higher 
than the towers of Dyrrachium, was built out of reach 
of the flaming missiles of the besieged, and well pro- 
tected against their sallies. The interior consisted of 
a broad staircase, to enable companies of armed men 
to mount in close order to the summit, whence a draw- 
bridge hung suspended to fall on the ramparts of the 
enemy. When this tower was completed, an inclined 
plane and wooden tram-way brought it close to the 
edge of the ditch with as much ease as a ship glides 
from the stocks into the sea. But Paleologos and his 
engineers had watched the progress of the work with 
attention, and before the mighty tower was put in 
motion, a framework of masts and yards was con- 
structed on the tower of the city against which it was 
directed. The appearance of a slender scaffold to resist 
their mighty tower only excited the contempt of the 
Normans, and the monster was advanced slowly to the 
very edge of the ditch without any opposition from 
the besieged. Five hundred chosen men, in complete 
armour, were ready to rush on the drawbridge, and 
already crowded the staircase, when the order was 
suddenly given to halt. The long masts and yards 
on the city tower had already descended, and wedged 
the drawbridge firmly against the body of the struc- 



ture, where it served as a door to enclose its occupants, ^^a. d. 
and prevent them from making any use of their arms. 
At the same instant an immense quantity of combus- 
tible materials was projected from the walls, and the 
tower was in a short time enveloped in flames and 
smoke, while the whole attack was terminated by a 
vigorous sortie, which enabled Paleologos to destroy 
its last relics. 

In the middle of October, Alexius at last approached 
Dyrrachium. He had been joined on his march by 
Pakurian, the grand-domestikos, with the European 
troops stationed at Adrianople, and by Bodio, king of 
Servia, who brought an auxiliary force of active Scla- 
vonian mountaineers to aid the heavy Byzantine in- 
fantry.^ The imperial army was composed of so great 
a variety of troops that an enumeration of its different 
corps and nations wUl afford the reader some informa- 
tion concerning the military condition of the empire 
at this interesting period, just before it was visited by 
the great armies of the Crusaders. The legion of the 
guards, which usually did duty on the outer walls of 
the great palace at Constantinople, was commanded by 
Constantine Opos. The Macedonian legion, recruited 
in great part from the Sclavonian population of that 
province, was under the orders of Antiochos. The 
Thessalian, composed of Greeks, was commanded by 
Alexander KavasUas. The contingent of Turkish 
troops, from a colony settled near Achrida, to overawe 
the Sclavonian population, and keep open the commu- 
nication with the Adriatic by the Via Egnatia, was led 
by Tatikios, an active and able soldier, son of a Saracen 
who had been taken prisoner by John Comnenus, the 
emperor's father.^ The body-guard called Vestiarites 

^ Pakurian, and Branas his lieutenant-general, were both Armenians. Cha- 
mich gives their names, Bakourian and Varaz. — Hittory of Armenxay ii. 166. 

' Whether these Turks, as Anna calls them, were remains of the Persians 
established in the empire by Theophilus two hundred and fifty years before 


BOOK iiL was commanded by Panukometes : the Frank merce- 
' nariea by Constantine Humbertopulos, a nephew of 

Eobert Gniscard ; and the Varangians by Nampites. 
A corps of two thousand eight hundred Paulicians, from 
the colonies in the neighbourhood of Fhilippopolis, had 
also joined the imperial army, under their own leaders, 
Xantas andKuleon. The military proceedings of Alexius, 
when he reached the neighbourhood of Dyrrachium, were 
very injudicious. The position of the Normans was 
extremely dangerous, hemmed in on one side by the 
numerous army of the emperor, and exposed on the 
other to constant attacks on the part of an active gar- 
rison. Their foraging parties were daily destroyed by 
the Dalmatians and Albanians, so that, if Alexius had 
taken up a strong position, and thrown out his light 
troops adl round the Norman camp, he would soon have 
destroyed their cavalry, and reduced them to capitu- 
late.* But he was jealous of the military glory acquired 
by Paleologos, and resolved to eclipse it. 

The first measure of Alexius betrayed the meanness 
of his disposition. He ordered Paleologos to quit 
Dyrrachium, in order that he might confer with him 
in the imperial camp, and he thus relieved Eobert 
Guiscard from an active enemy in his rear on the day 
of battle. In opposition to the advice of all the most 
experienced officers in his army, the emperor then de- 
cided on risking a general engagement, though it was 
evident that by this rash proceeding he oflFered the 
enemy the only chance for safety that now remained 
to them. The battle which took place was as dis- 

the time of Alexius, or more recent colonies of Uzes or other Turkish tribes 
which had invaded the empire from the north, cannot be determined with 
certainty. Compare Anna Comnena, 109, with the note of Ducange, and 
Codinu8,De Officiis, 66, liv., and the note hapbapt&Tcu, 75. Tatikios was grand 
primikerfos, or chief o' .iie household. He was a great &Tourite of Alexius, 
with whom he had been educated. 

1 Anna, 166, defends the conduct of her father, but she only proves his 
imprudence, by pointing out the importance of the Albanian population round 
Dynraohium at this period. 



graceful to the Byzantine arms as to the emperor's a. d. 
judgment. Alexius commanded the centre in person; 
his brother-in-law, the Caesar Nicephorus Melissenos, 
who had put the Turks in possession of Nicsea and the 
greater part of Bithynia, commanded the right wing, 
and Fakurian the left. The Varangian guard, having 
quitted their horses in order to make a display of their 
valour, led the van on foot. For some time the attack 
of the Varangians on the Norman line was completely 
successful, and one wing of Robert's army was broken. 
A part of the cavalry was forced back to the sea-shore, 
where the Venetians began to assail them from boats. 
But Robert regained the advantage by promptly bring- 
ing up a fresh division of his troops to attack the flank 
of the Varangians, to whom the emperor brought no 
succour. The victors were compelled to retreat to a 
church in order to make a stand against the Norman 
cavalry. In the mean time, after a short engagement, 
the rest of the Byzantine army was broken and fled. 
Several nobles of the highest rank perished on the field, 
and the emperor himself was slightly wounded, and 
compelled to fly without a follower.^ The King of Ser- 
via had remained an idle spectator of a battle which he 
probably considered as an act of imperial folly, and he 
retired from the field as soon as his allies were de- 
feated. The loss of the vanquished amounted to about 
six thousand ; but from the loss of the military chest 
and baggage, and the defective arrangements adopted 
by Alexius in his confidence of victory, many corps 
dispersed, and could never be brought back to their 
standards. The Paulicians, who had behaved with 
courage and lost three hundred men, finding that they 

^ The emperor was pursued by the Normanfi as far as a steep ascent and 
dangerous pass called kak6 Plevra, below which the river Charzanes flowed. 
Anna tells us her father performed prodigies of valour. He crossed the river, 
rested at another pass called Varvagora, and after wandering two days in the 
mountains, reached Achrida. — P. 118. 


BOOK III. had no hope either of plunder or pay, returned home, 
^ '•"•*^ ' in spite of all the exertions of the emperor to detain 

After the battle, Paleologos found it impossible to 
enter Dyrrachium ; but Alexius succeeded in trans- 
mitting orders to the garrison, appointing an Albanian 
general named Komiskorta governor of the place, and 
intrusting the custody of the citadel to the Venetians. 
In the month of February 1 082, a Venetian, who guarded 
one of the towers, betrayed the city to Eobert, who had 
previously put his army into winter-quarters at Glabi- 
nitza and Joanina, in order to escape the severe cold of 
the winter farther north. Alexius collected the remains 
of the Byzantine army at Deavolis, and repaired him- 
self to Thessalonica, where he passed the winter col- 
lecting a second army ; which he was enabled to do, as 
he had replenished lus military chest from the church 
plate of the richest cathedrals and monasteries in his 
dominions. The affairs of Italy, before the opening of 
the second campaign, fortunately compelled Robert 
Guiscard to quit Illyria, and leave his son Bohemund 
in command of the Norman army. 

The progress of the Normans was arrested by the 
number of fortified towns in the mountains of lUyria 
and Epirus, most of them the remains of Hellenic cities 
or Roman municipalities, whose strong walls secured 
them against any attack short of a regular siege. The 
whole summer of 1082 passed without any operation 
of importance, and Bohemund established his army in 
its old winter-quarters at Joanina. In the spring of 
1083, Alexius had collected an army so powerful that 
he again marched forward to attack the Normans. In 
order to break the terrible charge of their cavalry, 
which no Byzantine horse could resist, the emperor 
placed a number of chariots before his own troops, 
armed with barbed poles extending in front like a line 


of lances, and in these chariots he stationed a strong a. d. 
body of heavy-armed infantry. Bohemund, however, ^^^^^®- 
on reconnoitring this strange unwieldy measure of de- 
fence, broke up his line of cavalry into two columns, 
and, leaving the centre of the Byzantine army with 
the chariots unassailed, fell with fury on the extremity 
of the two wings. The resistance was short, and the 
Emperor Alexius again fled with precipitation to Ach- 
rida, where Pakurian assembled the fugitives. Bohe- 
mund considered it of more importance to the success 
of his enterprise to render himself master of Arta, than 
to pursue the beaten army. While he was engaged 
besieging Arta, Alexius, before the end of autunm, had 
collected troops sufficient to risk a battle to relieve 
the besieged city ; but he was again defeated by Bohe- 
mund, and, seeing his inability to contend with the 
young Norman in the field, he left Arta to its fate, 
and retired to Constantinople. 

The Normans soon overran all Epirus, and invaded 
Macedonia, extending their incursions as far as Skopia ; 
but they failed to reduce the citadel of Achrida, though 
they gained possession of the town. Bohemund, find- 
ing that he was unable to take Ostrovos and Berrhoea, 
could not venture to advance into the plain of Thessa- 
lonica, though he penetrated by Vodhena as far as 
Moglena, and proceeded by Pelagonia and Kastoria into 
Thessaly, where, after making himself master of Tricala 
and Tziviskos, he laid siege to Larissa, in which he 
intended to establish his winter-quarters. This city, 
however, was defended by Leo Kephalas with great 
obstinacy ; and Alexius, having procured a subsidiary 
force of seven thousand light cavalry from Suleiman, 
the Sultan of Nicsea, again took the field in the spring 
of 1084. After passing Mount Kellia, he quitted the 
high-road, and, diverging to his left, descended by the 
southern side of Ossa, having avoided the vale of 



BOOK III. Tempe. Faeaiiig Exeban, a VaUachian village near 
^''"'* ' Andronia, he encamped at Plavitza, on the banks of a 
stream of the same name.^ From thence he advanced 
by the gardens of Delphina to Tricala, from which the 
Normans had retired. He there learned, by a letter 
from Leo Kephalas, that Larissa was reduced to the 
last extremity, and must surrender unless it received 
immediate succour. Alexius immediately formed his 
army into two divisions, and advanced to engage the 
Normans before Larissa. His preparation for a battle 
was on this occasion made with considerable skill. 
The principal division of his forces, with which he left 
the imperial standard, was ordered to engage the 
enemy with caution, and, after some fighting, to retire 
in order to a pass called Lykostoma, or the Wolfs 
Mouth, where they would be protected by the nature 
of the ground fix)m further pursuit. Alexius, with the 
other division, at the same time marched with a chosen 
body of men through the pass of Livatanino, and, 
avoiding Reveniko,^ took post at Allage, where he lay 
concealed uintil Bohemuind should have pursued the 
other division of his army to a considerable distance. 
When he found that his stratagem had proved success- 
ful, he issued from his concealment, and stormed the 
Norman camp. This exploit was facilitated by a body 
of archers^ who were instructed to shoot the horses of 
the Normans as they were forming to make a sally. 

^ This notice of the Valkchians, as oompoeing a part of the population of 
Theesaly in the year 1084, is the earliest mention of their establishments in a 
district where thej soon after became so numerous tiiat ^e south-western 
parts of Thessaly received the name of Great VaUachia.— Anna Comnena, 187. 
Beigamin of Tudela, ed. Asher, i 48. 

> This RoTeniko is evidently not the Babenioa mentioned by Benjamin of 
Tudela, as between Thebes and Zeitouni, which is the Ravenique where Henri 
de Valenciennes informs us that the Latin £mperor of Constantinople, Henry 
of Flanders, held his parliament. Rabenica, or Raveniqne, must have been 
situated within a day's journey of ZeitounL In Medieval Oreeee and Tttbizond, 
I have erroneously supposed that the parliament of Ravenika was held at a 
place so named in the ancient Chalkidike, p. 125, note I.— See Tafol, l^euahnica, 
p. 488. 


The wounded horses became unmanageable, and the 
dismounted Normans, though terrible on horseback, 
were almost helpless, on account of the weight of their 
armour and their pointed boots, which impeded their 
motions on foot. Bohemimd, believing that he had 
again defeated the emperor, was boasting that he had 
driven him into the wolfs jaws, when a messenger 
arrived with the news that his camp was lost and 
Larissa relieved. He immediately galloped back with 
all his knights, but he found that Alexius had already- 
established himself so strongly in the camp that there 
was no hope of recovering it. Still the Byzantine 
army feared the Norman lance too much to venture 
any engagement in the plain ; but next day Bohe- 
mund, seeing that he was in danger of being cut oflF 
from his resources, retreated to Kastoria. As soon as 
the Norman army was cut oflF from plunder, and with- 
out any hope of making further conquests, it began 
to display a mutinous spirit ; and Bohemund was com- 
pelled to return to Italy, to obtain supplies of money 
and fresh troops. Brienne, the constable of Apulia, 
who commanded in his absence, found himself com- 
pelled to surrender Kastoria to the Emperor Alexius, 
and to engage not to bear arms again against the 
Byzantine empire.^ 

While Bohemund was carrying on the war against 
the Emperor of the East, Robert Guiscard had driven 
the Emperor of the West out of Eome; and after van- 
quishing Henry IV., he had plundered the Eternal City 

^ Nothing c&D proye the superiority of the NormanB over the Byzantine 
Greeks more decidedly than the terms of the praise conferred by Anna on her 
brother-in-law Nicephoros Euphorbenus. She says, that when he appeared 
on horseback, brandishing his lance, and covering himself with his shield, he 
rasembled a Norman, and not a Roman or Greek.— P. 277. 

Brienne was the son of Redon count of Penthidvre, and grandson of Alan 
third Duke of Bretagne. He had served under William the Conqueror at the 
battle of Hastings, and, after his capitulation in Macedonia, returned to Brit- 
tany. This fiimily of Brienne had no connection with the Byzantine family 

A. D. 



BOOK m. like another Genseric. He was now ready to resume 
^"'"'* ' his schemes of ambition in the East. Collecting a 
powerful fleet to carry over his victorious army into 
Epirus, he raised the siege of Corfu, which was in- 
vested by the combined naval forces of the Byzantine 
empire and the Venetian republic. The united fleets 
were completely defeated in a great naval battle, in 
which, according to Anna Comnena, they lost thir- 
teen thousand men. But in the month of July 1085, 
Robert died in the island of Cephallenia, and with him 
perished all the Norman projects of conquest in the 
Byzantine empire. Dyrrachium was recovered by 
Alexius with the assistance of the Venetian and Amal- 
phitan merchants established in the place, and the 
services of the Venetians in this war were rewarded 
by many commercial privileges which were conferred 
on them by a golden bull. The Amalphitan mer- 
chants at Constantinople were also obliged to place 
themselves under Venetian protection, and pay dues 
to the Venetian corporation. The Venetians had been 
so displeased with their doge, Dominico Silvio, to 
whose negligence they ascribed their defeat by the 
Normans, that he had been deposed, and Vital Faliero 
appointed doge in his stead. On Faliero the Emperor 
Alexius conferred the title of Protosevastos, to which 
he attached a considerable pension, and the title of the 
republic to the sovereignty of Dalmatia and Croatia 
was formally recognised. From this time the doge 
appears to have styled himself lord of the kingdoms 
of Dalmatia and Croatia.^ 

It was fortunate for Alexius that neither the Patzi- 
naks nor the Seljouk Turks availed themselves of his 
defeats during the Norman war to attack the empire. 

1 Anna Comnena, 161. And. Dandulo, iz. a 8. Marin, Storia de Civile e 
Politica del Commercio d^ Veneziani, iL 21 1, 295. Lucius, De Regno Dalmatia, 
lib. iii. c. ii. p. 111. 

PATZINAK WAR, A.D. 1085. 101 

Their united eflForts would, in all probability, bave a. d. 
destroyed the Byzantine empire, and might have exter- ^^^^^ 
minated the Greek race. The dominions of tbe Patzi- 
naks at this time extended along tbe northern bank of 
tbe Danube, from the Carpathian Mountains to tbe 
shores of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azof. Over 
these extensive plains tbe nomade Patzinaks wan- 
dered as lords of tbe country, amidst a numerous fixed 
population of Sclavonians and Vallacbians. It seems 
at variance witb our modem theories concerning tbe 
great superiority whicb civilisation is supposed to con- 
fer in tbe arts of war and government, to find tbe 
Patzinaks carrying on the administration of their 
extensive dominions from a movable camp of waggons, 
and displaying a degree of military and political skill 
whicb rendered them for several generations formid- 
able enemies to the Byzantine empire. But it requires 
no very profound knowledge of history to perceive 
that military superiority often exists distinct from 
social civilisation, that literary cultivation affords no 
guarantee for national wisdom and honour, and tbat 
theological learning is no proof of individual virtue. 

During tbe Norman war tbe Patzinaks were them- 
selves attacked by a new horde of Romans. But when 
the tyranny of Alexius drove tbe Paulicians into rebel- 
lion, a union was formed between large bodies of 
Patzinaks and Romans, wbo invaded tbe empire under 
tbe guidance and witb tbe assistance of tbe persecuted 
Paulicians. Their success in defeating tbe Byzantine 
army under tbe grand-domestikos Pakuvian has been 
already noticed.^ In tbe following spring, a.d. 1087, 
a fresh army of invaders, to the number of eighty 
thousand men, ravaged Tbrace under tbe command of 
Tzelgu, but were at last defeated by Nikalaos Mav- 

* See page 79. 


BooKin. rokatakalon, and their leader slain.^ The Byzantine 
chmkm. ^j^j^y g^^j^ g^jj^j. proyed again unfortunate; and in the 

following campaign the emperor, in order to recover 
the ground then lost> crossed the range of Mount 
Hsemus by the central pass called the Iron Gates, in 
opposition to the counsels of Nicephorus Bryennius, his 
blind rival, who, when he heard of the imprudent 
determination of Alexius, observed, " Well I on the 
other side of the mountains it will soon appear who is 
best mounted/^ ^ The emperor pushed forward as far 
as Dorostylon, but he was there met by the Patzinaks 
and completely defeated. The enemy made such good 
use of their victory that they pursued the imperial 
troops over Mount Hsemus, and wintered in the valley 
of the Hebrus, about seven leagues from its mouth, in 
the neighbourhood of K3rpsele and Taurokomon. 

In the spring of the year 1089 the Patzinaks ad- 
vanced to the vicinity of Constantinople, and the 
whole campaign was passed in a variety of movements, 
which led to no certain result except that the bar- 
barians ravaged the country between Adrianople and 
the capital without sustaining any serious loss. The 
Princess Anna recounts an occurrence during this cam- 
paign which places in a strong light both the weakness 
of her father and the extreme difficulty of his position. 
A Patzinak chief named Neantzes, having deserted his 
countrymen, became a great favourite with the em- 
peror.^ But Alexius having laid a plan to surprise 

^ Anna Comnena, page 188, says that, besides Sauromates and Scythians, by 
which she means Patzinaks and Komans, there was a strong body of Dacians 
or Vallachians in this army, commanded by a leader named Solomon. Beigft- 
min of Tadela remarks on the frequency of Jewish names among the Vallachians, 
i 48. The Komans or Kumans are the Polovtsi of Russian history. 

' Anna Comnena, 191. 

> Anna Comnena, when she recounts the treacherous oonduot of Neantses, 
foraets that she had praised the barbarians shortly before for not nudiinff a 
trade of treason like the Byzantine Greeks. She probably thought that 
Neantzes had always been fiaithful to his countrymen, and was a spy rather 
than a traitor. Compare p. 190,— Ovd« dmkoU ftupiaOrjawf Xoyur^ioiir, jt.r.X., 
and p. 210,211. 


the Fatzinak army by a sudden attack, a soldier dis- a. d. 
covered that Neantzes contrived to hold a parley with ^ ^^^"^'* ^' 
some of his countrymen, and from his knowledge of 
their language he was satisfied that the deserter was a 
double traitor. He immediately repaired to the em- 
peror's tent and denounced Neantzes. The Patzinak 
was sunmxoned to answer the charge, but as soon aa 
his accuser had concluded his narrative, Neantzes drew 
his sabre, and before any one could interpose or the 
soldier make a movement either to defend himself or 
escape, he slew his accuser in the emperor's presenca 
Yet, either from timidity or suspicion, the emperor 
overlooked this insolent act of rebellion ; nay, he had 
even the baseness to attempt to conceal his natural 
indignation, by making Neantzes a present of one of 
his own horses. The Fatzinak, who knew well that 
his conduct was unpardonable, used the emperor's 
horse to make his escape to his countrymen.^ 

Though Alexius could gain no advantage of any 
importance over the Fatzinaks in the field of battle, 
and was forced to leave all Bulgaria and the greater 
part of Thrace exposed to their devastations, he never- 
theless contrived to destroy considerable numbers of 
their cavalry in diflferent skirmishes, and his daughter 
loudly celebrates these partial successes. On one occa- 
sion he was besieged at Tzurulos. A rapid but smooth 
slope lay before the town like a long glacis. Along the 
top of this slope the emperor ranged all the wheels of 
his baggage-waggons attached to their axles, and when 
the Fatzinak cavalry had charged half way up the 
slope, to capture the plunder they saw without the 
walls, the wheels of the waggons were let loose to run 
down on them. When the Fatzinaks broke their 
ranks to escape this new mode of attack, the Byzan- 
tine troops sallied out of the place and inflicted on 

^ Anna Coinodna, 212. 


BOOK in. them a serious loss.^ The Patzinak army, however, 
'"' maintained its ground, and wintered at Bulgarophygia 
and Nizitza. 

In the spring of the year 1090 the emperor took up 
his position at Choirobacches, and the Patzinak army 
soon encamped before the place. They were so strong 
that they were able to detach a body of six thousand 
cavalry to plunder the country within ten miles of 
Constantinople, but their confidence became so great 
that the emperor was enabled to surprise their camp 
before Choirobacches, and put a considerable number 
of their troops to the sword. He then disguised his 
own cavalry by making use of the standards of the 
Patzinaks, and in this way he destroyed many of their 
troops who were returning from plundering in the 
vicinity of Constantinople. But the enemy's force was 
not broken by this victory, and their innumerable 
light horse continued to ravage every comer of Thrace. 
The inordinate vanity of Alexius, nevertheless, induced 
him to celebrate this trifling advantage (though it was 
insufficient to protect the country round his capital 
from hostile attacks) by a triumphal procession back 
to Constantinople. The advanced guard of his army 
wore for the occasion the dress and carried the arms of 
Patzinaks, as if the emperor was prouder of his own 
stratagems than of the valour of his army. The prison- 
ers followed, each led by a peasant; then came a body 
of soldiers, bearing aloft the heads of the slain on their 
lances; and after this display, the emperor, surrounded 
by his household and usual body-guard, with the impe- 
rial standards, and followed by the trophies of his suc- 
cess. The pageant excited the spleen of Nicephorus 
Melissenos, who characterised his brother-in-law's 
vanity with more justice than his brother-in-law had 
treated his treason. Melissenos sneered at the empe- 

^ Anna Coxnnena, 215. 


ror^s victory, as bringing joy to the empire without a. d. 

gain, and grief to the Patzinaks without loss.^ _1 * 

Alexius, however, at last succeeded in concluding a 
treaty with the Komans, by which these barbarians 
engaged to send a large army to co-operate with him 
in Thrace. In order to prepare for a great effort 
Nicephorus Melissenos was sent to assemble the armed 
peasants of Thrace and Macedonia called Vlachs, and 
join the regular forces of the empire, which the empe- 
ror conducted in person to Enos. The imperial army 
was there increased by the arrival of the Komans, who 
were about forty thousand strong ; and the Patzinaks, 
who had concentrated all their troops, found them- 
selves hemmed in between two hostile armies. A great 
battle was fought at a place called Levounion, in which 
these barbarians, who had so long ravaged Thrace, were 
completely defeated on Tuesday the 29th of April 1 091.^ 
The number of prisoners who were captured by the 
Byzantine troops was so great that fear induced the 
soldiers to put many to death during the night after 
the battle. The remainder, with the families captured 
in their camp, were established as colonists at Mog- 
lena, where they long continued to supply recruits to 
the imperial armies.^ The Komans, distrusting the 
treachery of Alexius, hastened to regain their own 
seats beyond the Danube, with the booty and prisoners 
they had secured. A few who remained behind were 

1 Anna Comnena, 225. 

" The chronology of the Patzinak war has some difficulties, as Anna Com- 
nena is too rhetorical to be very precise in dates; but as Tuesday was really 
the 29th of April in the year 1091, there seems no doubt the battle was fought 
in that year. — Anna Comnena, 283. Wilkcn {Rerum ab Alexia 1., Joanne, 
Manuele a AUxlo II., gestarum, lib. iv.) places it in 1088, and differs in his 
whole chronology of the war from the received reckoning. —P. 268. 

The Vlachs mentioned by Anna Comnena may have been nomade shepherds, 
for the word even then may have been used as at present in this sense, without 
any intention to indicate the Vallachian race. — Anna Comnena, 226. The 
Bulgarian peasantry were armed by Alexius with helmets of silk.~Anna Com- 
nena, 231. 

' Zonaras mentions this Patzinak colony, ii. 299. 


BOOK m rewarded by Alexius with additional presents, to secure 

CH^jLi^L ^j^^ goodwill of their nation*^ 

Th% wars carried on by Alexius with Bodin king of 
Servia^ and Balcan prince of Dalmatia and Bascia, 
though they occupied a considerable force at different 
times, exerted too little influence on the general condi- 
tion of the Byzantine empire to be noticed in detail 

On the other hand, the fortunes of the Seljouk Turks 
influenced the course of European history. We have 
already seen that their conquests in Asia Minor were 
facilitated by two causes — ^by the destruction of the 
Christian population, and the treachery of the Byzan- 
tine rulers. Their incessant plimdering incursions 
systematically exterminated the agricultural classes 
who were beyond the immediate protection of fortified 
towns ; while the disgraceful cessions of territory they 
obtained from emperors and rebel chie& yielded them 
the possession of as many provinces as they conquered. 
History records few periods in which so large a portion 
of the human race was in so short a period reduced 
from an industrious and flourishing condition to de- 
gradation and serfage. Yet the details of this great 
catastrophe are almost utterly neglected by the Byzan- 
tine historians, though its causes can be directly traced 
to the proceedings of the imperial administration and 
the conduct of the leading members of the aristocracy 
of Constantinople. Family prejudice and courtly 
blindness concealed from the minds of the Prince Nice- 
phorus Bryennius and his spouse, the Princess Anna, 
how much of the decline of human society was the 
work of their own relations ; and national prejudices, 
combined with political servility, rendered other con- 
temporary writers more anxious to conciliate patrons 
by liberal eulogies than to trace the causes of the cala- 

^ Anna Comnena, 235. 



mities they witnessed by a searching investigation of a. d. 
the truth. "^J:^" 

It has been already noticed that the defeat of the 
Emperor Eomanus lY. by Alp Arslan left all Asia Minor 
exposed to the ravages of the Seljouks, who even then 
pushed their plundering incursions as far as Nicsea and 
Nicomedia. Shortly after Suleiman, the son of Kou- 
toulmish, was intrusted with a subordinate sovereignty 
in Asia Minor by the Grand Sultan Malekshah, and 
thus became the founder of the Seljouk sultanat of 
Eoum. The dominion of Suleiman over the greater 
part of Asia Minor was recognised by a treaty with the 
Byzantine empire in 1074, when Michael VIL pur- 
chased the assistance of a Turkish auxiliary force 
against the rebellion of Oursel and his own uncle John 
Dukas. Nicephorus III. ratified the treaty concluded 
with Michael VII., augmented the power of the Turks, 
and abandoned additional numbers of Christians to 
their domination, to gain their aid in dethroning his 
lawful prince; and Nicephorus Melissenos, when he 
rebelled against Nicephorus III., repeated a similar 
treason against the traitor, and, in hopes of gaining 
possession of Constantinople, yielded up the possession 
of Nicsea to Suleiman, which that chief immediately 
made the capital of his dominions. It must not be 
forgotten that the hatred which a considerable portion 
of the Christian population bore to the Byzantine 
government, on account of the oppressive nature of its 
financial administration, and to the Greek church on 
account of its rapacity, simony, and cruelty, greatly 
facilitated the consolidation of the Seljouk power. The 
overthrow of the Iconoclasts and the destruction of 
the Paulicians were victories of the Greek race and 
church over the native Asiatics, which were neither 
forgotten nor forgiven. The strict centralisation of 
power which the emperors of the Basilian family had 


BOOK III. established, also accelerated the disunion in a popula- 
cmji^i. ^j^^j^ destitute of homogeneous elements, by leaving 
the native popiilation solely dependent on foreign 
governors for defence, protection, and justice. The 
effect of this was a tendency towards the formation of 
several independent principalities in Asia Minor even 
before the conquests of the Seljouks; and one of these 
states, the Armenian kingdom of Cilicia, long defied the 
Turkish power. The administration of the Iconoclast 
emperors had restored Asia Minor to a high degree of 
prosperity, wealth, and population ; but in the time of 
John I. (Zimiskes), individual nobles had succeeded in 
obtaining possession of enormous estates, which were 
chiefly devoted to pasturage, and thus the diminution 
of the Christian population had commenced from inter- 
nal causes of decay in the Byzantine empire before the 
Seljouk invasions.^ The nomade Turks consequently, 
partly on account of this want of inhabitants, and 
partly on account of the void created by their own 
devastations, colonised the country to a wonderful ex- 
tent, and in the course of a single generation became 
the majority of the inhabitants of Cappadocia, Phrygia, 
and Galatia. And in this rapid colonisation of the 
country by the Turks, we must seek for the explanation 
of the obstinate and effectual resistance which these 
countries were able to offer to the Crusaders, though 
they had been so recently conquered by the Moham- 

When Alexius ascended the throne, the Seljouk con- 
quests in Asia Minor were still considered as a portion 
of the dominions of the Grand Sultan Malekshah, the 
son of Alp Arslan, and Suleiman, the sultan of Nicsea, 
was only his lieutenant, though as a member of the 

^ Compare the preceding volume, pages 364 and 370. This lattfundia^ the 
over-accumulation of hinded property in the hands of a few individuals who 
acquire a monopoly in the productions of the soil, is one of the political as well 
as social evils which arise from an undue preponderance of capital over labour. 


house of Seljouk, and as cousin of Malekshah, he was a. d. 

honoured with the title of Sidtan.^ The prominent ^ 

position which his posterity occupied in the wars of the 
Crusaders, their long relations with the Byzantine em- 
pire, and the independent position they held as sultans 
of Iconium, have secured to them a far more lasting 
place in history than has been obtained by the superior 
but less durable dynasty of the grand sultans. But at 
the commencement of the Seljouk domination in Asia 
Minor, there were other emirs who commanded exten- 
sive provinces in Asia Minor with as much independ- 
ence as Suleiman. Of these, Elchan, who possessed 
Cyzikus ; Tzachas, who acted the pirate at Smyrna ; 
and Charatike, who seized Sinope, are particularly men- 
tioned ; while Artuk and Tutak are recorded as ha^dng 
held the conmiand of large armies for particular objects. 
Toutoush, the brother of Malekshah, who acted as his 
governor at Damascus at the same time, became the 
founder of the Syrian dynasty of Seljouk sultans. ^ 

The treaty by which the river Drake was declared the 
boundary between the dominions of Alexius and Sulei- 
man has been mentioned, and the assistance which the 
Turkish cavalry aflForded to the Byzantine empire in 
the war with the Normans. But as no limits were 
placed to the progress of Suleiman towards the south, 
he did not consider himself bound to refrain from the 
conquest of Antioch, though that city still nominally 
formed part of the Byzantine empire. Philaretos 
the Armenian, who had commanded under Romanus 
IV. at the unfortunate battle of Manzikert, after passing 

^ Anna Comnena, 169, mentions the dependence of Suleiman on Malekshah, 
and that his sons were retained as hostages at the court of the grand sultan. — 
P. 180. 

* The sources of Se\jouk history are few, scanty, and discordant The Byzan- 
tine writers require to be compared with Oriental authorities, which are neither 
numerous nor authentic. Wilken, cap. xi. p. 224, has given a clear review of 
the authorities ; and Hammer, De Quignes, and d'Herbelot supply additional 


BOOK III. through many vicissitudes, still governed Antioch, 
^ "' "' * ^ ' which he held rather as an independent prince than as 
an officer of the imperial government; but, like most 
of the Christian princes who continued to keep posses- 
sion of cities and districts surrounded by the Turkish 
conquests, he acknowledged allegiance to the Emperor 
of Constantinople. When, however, he was informed 
of the successfdl termination of the Norman war, he 
feared that Alexius would be able to deprive him of 
his power in Antioch ; and to secure his position, he 
resolved to embrace the Mohammedan faith, and main- 
tain his independence by means of Turkish mercenary 
troops. His son, pretending that he wished to prevent 
his father's apostacy, by rendering it unavailing, fled 
to Suleiman at Nicaaa^ and offered to put that prince in 
possession of Antioch before his father could execute 
his purpose. The importance of the prize roused the 
activity of Suleiman, who hastened to Antioch, and, 
arriving unexpectedly before the walls, rendered him- 
self easily master of the city under the guidance of the 
treacherous son of PhUaretos. This conquest involved 
Suleiman in war with the Emir of Aleppo and with 
Toutoush, the brother of Malekshah, by whom he was 
completely defeated in the neighbourhood of Aleppo ; 
and it is said that, to avoid falling into the hands of 
his enemies, he committed suicide, which is a strong 
proof that the manners of the Seljouk Turks were not 
yet completely disciplined to the principles of the 
Koran (a.d. 1086).i 

This civil war between two of his near relations and 
most powerful officers drew the attention of Malekshah 

^ Anna Comnena, 169. Hammer, Bittoire de V Empire OUomane, tr. Hellert, 
1-28. Suicide has aJways been rarer among the Mohammedans than among 
the Christians. The law of Christ, being more spiiitual than that of Moham- 
med, has received less implicit obedience from the bulk of its yotaries, whose 
social civilisation has not yet been elevated to its doctrines. The Greek and 
Roman churches attempted to correct wha{ they seem to have imagined was a 
deficiency, by introducing a good deal of material devotion. 


to the aflEairs of Asia Minor. Aboulkassim, who had a. d. 
been intrusted by Suleiman with the direction of the ' * 
administration at Nicaea when he departed on his expe- 
dition to Antioch, attempted to maintain himself in a 
state of independence. Malekshah, in order to secure 
the assistance, or rather the neutrality, of the Byzantine 
empire while he reduced his rebellious vassals to order, 
concluded a treaty with Alexius, by which the empire 
recovered several maritime cities fit)m the Turks. But 
whatever engagements Alexius entered into with Ma- 
lekshah, he showed himself always ready to treat with 
Aboulkassim, if by so doing he could gain some imme- 
diate advantage ; and, according to the testimony of 
his daughter, he obtained possession of Sinope by cheat- 
ing the grand sultan, and of Nicomedia by a fraudulent 
violation of the hospitality he had oflFered to Aboul- 
kassim.^ He, however, conferred on that Mussulman 
the rank of Sevastotatos ; and when Nicsea was besieged 
by the troops of Malekshah, he sent a Byzantine corps 
under Tatikios to aid in its defence, but with secret 
orders to gain possession of the place for himself should 
the treachery appear practicable. Aboulkassim, at last, 
finding that his own resources were insufficient to 
maintain his independence, preferred throwing himself 
on the generosity of Malekshah to intrusting his for- 
tunes to the aid of so faithless an aUy as Alexius proved 
to all persons and on all occasions. He was soon after 
slain by his enemies, and his brother Pulchas was com- 
pelled to surrender Nicaea to Kilidy-Arslan, the son of 
Suleiman (a.d. 1092). 

The Turkish chief who attacked the empire with 
the greatest energy during the reign of Alexius was 

^ Anna Comnena, who delights in recounting the diplomatic tricke of her 
father, oomparee him with Aldbiadee, whom she confounde with ThemiBtocles. 
Abonlkaasim was induced to visit Alexius for the purpose of arranging a treaty 
of alliance against Malekshah. — Compare Anna Comnena, p. 174, and Thuoy- 
dides, L 90. 


BOOK ni. Tzachas, the emir of Smyrna. He had been a prisoner 
chjm L ^^ Constantinople during the reign of Nicephorus IIL, 
and by entering the Byzantine service had gained the 
rank of proto-nobilissimus. When Alexius mounted 
the throne, and the imperial patronage was monopolised 
by the native aristocracy, Tzachas, seeing he had no- 
thing more to hope from the Byzantine government, 
assembled a fleet of forty decked vessels, called agraria, 
and by a series of bold and successful enterprises ren- 
dered himself master of Clazomene, Phocsea, and Chios. 
His power increased so steadily that in the year 1090 
he defeated the Byzantine fleet under the command of 
Niketas Knstamonites. For two years he carried on 
war with the naval forces of Alexius ; and having 
made Smyrna the capital of his dominions in the year 
1092, he assumed the title of Emperor, adopting all the 
insignia of the imperial rank used by the sovereigns of 
Constantinople, and by so doing inflicted a deeper 
wound on the heart of Alexius than he could have 
struck by any loss of territory.^ Though Tzachas was 
at length defeated by John Dukas, the brother of the 
empress, and lost Samos and several other islands he 
had conquered, he was still strong enough to besiege 
Abydos in the year 1093. But Alexius succeeded in 
inspiring Ealidy-Arslan, who had married Tzachas' 
daughter, with distrust of his father-in-law ; and if we 
believe Anna, the Sultan of Nicsea was induced by 
the calumnies of the emperor to assassinate Tzachas 
with his own hand at a festival. This crime strength- 
ened the alliance between the suborner and the mur- 
derer. But many of the Seljouk tribes beyond the 
Sangarius were sufficiently independent to pay little 

^ Anna Comnena, 250, speaks of the fleet of Tzachas as composed of dro- 
mons, yriremes, and triremes ; but these classic appellations give us no accurate 
idea of the vessels in use at this period. It is very doubtful if any were con- 
structed with more than two tier of oars; but, on the other hand, sails were 
better constructed, and more generally used in ships of war than in ancient 



attention to the treaties of Kjlidy-Arslan, and frequently a. d. 
infested the territories of the empire by their incur- ^ ^^^""^ ^' 
sions. To protect the neighbourhood of Nicomedia, 
which was now the frontier city of the diminished 
empire, Alexius cleared out an ancient canal between 
the lake of Sophon and the guK of Astacus, which was 
said to have been originally constructed by the Em- 
peror Anastasius as a defence to the Asiatic territory 
in the immediate vicinity of his capital, when he forti- 
fied its contiguous district in Europe by constructing 
the great Thracian wall from the Euxine to the Pro- 
pontis.^ Alexius erected also a fortress called the Iron 
Tower, in which he placed a garrison to defend the 
passage of the canal. The lake and the lower course 
of the river Sangarius required only a few guards to 
form an effectual barrier against the plundering in- 
cursions of the Turkish nomades. About the time this 
work was completed, reports reached Constantinople of 
the great preparations the western nations of Europe 
were making to deliver Jerusalem from the Turks. 
Alexius was not without alarm at the miiltitudes which 
threatened to enter his dominions ; but he hoped to 
employ the arms of the Franks in such a way as woiild 
enable him to restore the Byzantine empire to some 
portion of its ancient power and dominion in the 

The influence of the Crusades on the progress of 
European civilisation, and the change they produced 
in the relative condition of the governments and people 
in the western nations, offers too wide a field even for 

^ Anna Comn., 282, calls the lake Vaanes; the present Turkish name is Sa- 
banja. Remains of the canal are still visible. — Ainsworth's Travels in Asia Minor, 
&a, L 26. There is an interesting letter of Pliny to Trajan, proposing the con- 
struction of this canal, which had been commenced by one of the Bithynian 
kings.— Lib. z. ep. 60. The traces of the great wall of Anastasius m Europe have 
almost entirely disappeared. Eyagrius says it was at the distance of two hun- 
dred and eighty stades from Constantinople, and extended four hundred and 
twenty stades from sea to sea. — HiU. Eccles., lib. iii. c. 38. 




BOOK in. cursoiy notice, in a work winch confines its investiga- 
CB^n^i. ^j^j^g strictly to the political histoiy of the Byzantine 
empire. I must, therefore, confine my observations on 
the Crusades to their effects on the government of 
Constantinople, and on the condition of the Greek 
Christians. These effects were very different from 
those which they produced on the Latin nations. In 
the West, we can trace the germs of much social im- 
provement to the immediate results of the Crusades ; 
but in the East, during the whole period of their con- 
tinuance, they were an unmitigated evil to the great 
body of the Christian popiilation. For a time, religious 
feelings induced the leaders to behave to the Byzantine 
empire with some respect, as it was a Christian state ; 
but when ambition and fashion, rather than religious 
feeling, led men to the holy wars, the Eastern Christians 
suffered more from the Crusaders than the Mohamme- 
dans. It is our task, therrfore, to view the Crusades 
chiefly as the irruption of undisciplined armies seeking 
to conquer foreign lands, and to retain possession of 
their conquests by military power ; and in this light 
these celebrated expeditions effected so little in com- 
parison with the forces they brought into the field, and 
with the individual military pretensions of the leaders^ 
and the government of their Eastern conquests was so 
ruinous and unjust, that the character of the Western 
Europeans was for many ages regarded by the Eastern 
Christians with feelings of contempt and hatred. 

Like all the great movements of mankind, the 
Crusades must be traced to the coincidence of many 
causes which influenced men of various nations and 
discordant feelings, at the same period of time, to 
pursue one common end with their whole heart. Ee- 
ligious zeal, the fashion of pilgrimages, the spirit of 
social development, the energies that lead to colonisa- 
tion or conquest, and commercial relations, only lately 


extended so widely as to influence public opinion, all 
suddenly received a deep wound. Every class of 
society felt injured and insulted, and unity of action 
was created as if by a divine impulse. The movement 
was facilitated by the circumstance that Europe began 
to adopt habits of order just at the time when Asia 
was thrown into a state of anarchy by the invasions of 
the Seljouk Turks. 

Great numbers of pilgrims had always passed 
through the Byzantine empire to visit the holy places 
in Palestine. We still possess an itinerary of the road 
f]X)m Bordeaux to Jerusalem, by the way of Constan- 
tinople, written in the fourth century for the use of 
pilgrims.^ Though the disturbed and impoverished 
state of Europe, after the fall of the Western Empire 
diminished the number of pilgrims, stiU, even in times 
of the greatest anarchy, many passed annually through 
the Eastern Empire to Palestine.^ The improvement 
which dawned on the western nations during the 
eleventh century, and the augmented commerce of the 
Italians, gave additional importance to the pilgrimage 
to the East. About the year 1064, during the reign of 
Constantine X., an army or caravan of seven thousand 
pilgrims passed through Constantinople, led by the 
Archbishop of Mentz and four bishops. They made 
their way through Asia Minor, which was then under 
the Byzantine government ; but in the neighbourhood 
of Jerusalem they were attacked by the Bedouins, and 
only saved from destruction by the Saracen emir of 
Eamla, who hastened to their assistance. These pil- 
grims are reported to have lost three thousand of their 
number, without being able to visit either the Jordan 

^ Printed in Vetera Romanorum Itineraria, by Wesseling, Amsterdam 
1735, quarto; in the third volume of Chateaubriand's Voyage d Jerusalem; 
and Itinerarium Antonini Augusti et Hierosolimitanum, ex libris MSS., ed. 
O. Parthey et M. Pinder, Berlin. 

' Various pilgrimages during this period are mentioned by Michaud, Hittoire 
det Croitadtf, vol. i., ** Pieces Justificatives," No. iv. 

A. D. 

1081-11 18. 


BOOK III. or the Dead Sea.^ The invasions of the Seljouks in- 
^ "' "' * ^ ' creased the disorders in Palestine. The prosperity of 
the pilgrims suflfered as well as their piety. The Es^ter 
fair of Jerusalem was of importance to most European 
nations. Genoese and Pisan fleets traded to Palestine 
before the Crusades, and the merchants of Amalfi had 
already founded that glorious hospital of St John, 
which became a bulwark of Christianity in Rhodes 
and Malta.^ At the time of the first crusade, the 
fleets of the Italian states would have sufficed to trans- 
port large armies to Palestine, had conquest been the 
sole object of the Crusaders ; for we have seen that, in 
a single battle with Robert Guiscard, Venice could 
lose a whole fleet, with thirteen thousand men on 
board, without receiving a mortal wound.* 

In the year 1076 the Seljouk Turks took possession 
of Jerusalem, and immediately commenced harassing 
the pilgrims with unheard-of exactions. The Saracens 
had in general viewed the pilgrims with favour, as 
men engaged iu fulfilling a pious duty, or pursuing 
lawful gain with praiseworthy industry, and they had 
levied only a reasonable toll on the pilgrims, and a 
moderate duty on their merchandise ; whUe, in consi- 
deration of these imposts, they had established guards 

1 Michaad, BUtoire det Crouadeif L 67, who refers to Annalium Baronii 
BpUomes, part ii cap. v. p. 432. The Russians also visited Jerusalem as pilgrims 
in the eleventh century. — Kanunwin, Bittoire de la JRusiiet trad, par St 
Thomas et Jauffret, ii. 185. 

' Genoa, within thirteen years fix>m the commencement of the Crusades, 
sent seven large fleets to Palestine. The Pison fleet on the Syrian coast is 
mentioned by Amia, 336; the hospital, by William of Tyre, xviiL p. 934, 

''Then in Palestine, 
By the waynde, in sober grandeur stood 
A hospital, that night and day received 
The pilgrims of the West; and when 'twas asked, 
Who are the noble founders 1 every tongue 
At once replied, The merchants of Amalfi." 

—BOOERS* ItcUtf, 

Such were the services of commerce to the cause of civilisation in the middle 
ages. It did more for mankind than the spirit of chivalry. 
* Anna Comnena, 161. 


to protect them on the roads by which they approached a. p. 
the holy places. The Turks, on the contrary, acting ^^^^^ 
like mere nomades, uncertain of retaining possession 
of the city, thought only of gratifying their avarice. 
They plundered the rich pilgrims, and insulted the 
poor. The religious feelings of the Christians were 
irritated, and their commerce ruined ; a cry for ven- 
geance arose throughout all Europe, and men^s minds 
were fiilly prepared for an attempt to conquer Pales- 
tine, when Peter the Hermit began to preach that it 
was a sacred duty to deliver the tomb of Christ from 
the hands of the Infidels. 

Pope Gregory VII. was the first pontiff who at- 
tempted to excite the European nations to attack the 
Mohammedans as a religious duty. The Emperor 
Michael VII. had entered into communications with 
the Papal See, for the ostensible object of uniting the 
Greek and Latin churches, but principally with the 
hope of obtaining military succours against the Turks. 
In 1074, Gregory, moved by the danger to which 
Christianity was exposed by the rapid progress of the 
Seljouks, called on the Christians of Europe to take up 
arms to defend their suffering brethren against the 
Mohammedans, and proposed to lead the troops him- 
self to Constantinople.^ Many prepared to accompany 
the Pope at that time ; but the state of Europe, and 
the various political projects in which Gregory involved 
himself, rendered this first project of a crusade abor- 
tive. Unfortunately, too, the Pope did more, by his 
violent interference in the affairs of the Eastern Empire, 
to estrange the Greeks, than either the exigencies of 
Byzantine policy or the hopes of assistance could efface. 
In the year 1078, among the numerous excommunica- 
tions, anathemas, and execrations which Gregory 

^ Compare Greg. VII. episi i. 46, 49 ; li. 87 ; and Grigotre VII, et ton Siicle, 
par Voigt, trad, par Jager, 2d edit, p. 263. 


BOOK III. launched at emperors, bishops, and princes, he thought 
^ "' "' * * fit to excommunicate Nicephorus III. Whether this 
was done because Nicephorus failed to pay an annual 
subsidy of 24 lb. of gold, granted by Michael VIL to 
the monastery of Mount Cassino, or because he mar- 
ried the Empress Maria when Michael was compelled 
to descend from the throne and become a priest, the 
step was equally impolitic ; as so violent and imwar- 
ranted an attack on the independence of the empire, by 
a foreign priest, was sure to unite the Greek clergy and 
people in opposition to the papal pretensions.^ Victor 
III., moved by the spirit which then inspired the court 
of Kome to assume the direction of European policy, 
urged the maritime states of Italy to attack the Mo- 
hammedans. Like his predecessor Gregory VII,, he 
promised remission of sins to all who engaged in this 
holy war. The Pisans and Genoese, eager to attack 
the Saracen pirates who still continued to infest the 
Italian seas, finding that the papal exhortations secured 
them a supply of volunteers, fitted out their fleets and 
invaded AJfrica, where they met with some success, and 
from whence they carried off considerable booty.^ 
Every year brought the hostility of the Christians to 
the Mohammedans more prominently before the public. 
Peter the Hermit began to preach, and at last, in 1095, 
Pope Urban 11. assembled a council at Placentia^ where 
ambassadors from Alexius presented themselves to 
solicit assistance, and enrol some of the distinguished 
soldiers of the Franks in the service of the Eastern 
Empire.^ At the council of Clermont, which was held 
a short time after, many princes took the cross, and the 

^ Qrigovre VIL et ton Slide, par Voigt, 501. Leo Ostiensifl, iii. c. 46. 

* Michaiid, Hittoire du Croitadtt, i. 85, 666. 

* A letter of Alexius to Robert count of Flanders, who visited Constan- 
tinople in 1088, on his way back from the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and who, 
in the following year, sent the emperor five hundred horsemen and one hun- 
dred and fifty of the war-horses of Flanders, is cited by Western writers as an 
invitation to the princes assembled at the council of Placentia, but this letter 


religious enthusiasm spread with such fervour among 
the people that many assembled without loss of time, 
and commenced their march to deliyer Jerusalem. 

The conduct of these first bands of Crusaders pro- 
duced a very unfavourable impression on the inhabit- 
ants of the Byzantine empire. Only a part of the 
expedition consisted of soldiers, and even these troops 
paid little attention to the orders of Walter the Penny- 
less, a soldier of some military experience, who was the 
nominal leader of the army. The majority of this first 
swarm of Crusaders consisted of pilgrims without arms, 
order, or discipline, followed by crowds of women and 
children. Few had made adequate preparation for the 
journey, or possessed any knowledge of the difficulties 
they must necessarily encounter, and all were without 
the requisite pecuniary resources. They had hardly 
entered the Byzantine empire before their money was 
exhausted, and they then began to plunder the Bul- 
garian villages, and carry off the provisions and cattle 
of the inhabitants, as if they had been in an enemy's 
country. This conduct roused the fury of the pea- 
santry, accustomed to war by the incessant plundering 
incursions of the Hungarians, Fatzinaks, and Romans, 
who fell upon the dispersed bands of the Crusaders, and 
would- in all probability have destroyed the whole 
expedition, had.not the imperial officer who commanded 
at Naissos saved the greater part, supplied them with 
rations, and sent them forward to Constantinople. But 
that hundreds of the unarmed pilgrims, and of the 
women and children, were seized and sold as slaves to 
pay for the ravages committed by the plimderers, can- 
not be doubted. A still more numerous body of pil- 
grims soon followed, under the personal guidance of 

is of an earlier date. Its authenticity, howeTer,in its present form, is extremely 
doubtful. The letter is given by Ouibert, BUtoria Bierotolymitana, lib. i. c. iv. 
(Bongars, p. 475). See the notes of Ducange to Anna Comnena, p. 335, ed. 
Ptor. ; 73, ed. Ven. Wilken and Michaud. 




BOOK III. Peter the Hennit himself. Though supplied with pro- 
CBjuii. ^— Qj^g Y)y the governor of Naissos, this body com- 
mitted such disordei-s that at last they were attacked 
by the garrison of Naissos, and only seven thousand 
reached Constantinople with Peter. These first divi- 
sions of the Crusaders were not so numerous nor power- 
ful as to excite any alarm in Alexius, who had often 
encountered more numerous armies of Patzinaks, Ko- 
mans, Turks, and Normans ; and as he expected to 
turn their services to his advantage, he received Peter 
the Hermit with kindness, and supplied his followers 
with provisions. But the ravages committed by these 
undisciplined bands in Servia, Bulgaria, and Thrace 
sowed the seeds of a deep-rooted hatred of the western 
nations in the hearts of the Sclavonian and Greek sub- 
jects of the Byzantine empire. The bitter fruits of this 
antipathy will be often apparent in the following pages 
of this history. 

The followers of Walter the Pennyless and Peter the 
Hermit were soon swelled into a considerable army by 
fresh arrivals at Constantinople. They were trans- 
ported over to Asia by the Byzantine fleet, where their 
imprudence and want of discipline quickly caused their 
ruin. The various nations composing the army formed 
separate bands, and their desultory attacks on the 
Turks led to numbers being cut off in detail. The 
main body marched to attack Nicaea, and was com- 
pletely defeated in a battle, from which only three 
thousand men escaped into the Byzantine territory. 

The great army of the first Crusade only began to 
march eastward about the time this advanced guard 
was destroyed. In the summer of the year 1096, the 
chivalry of Flanders, Normandy, and France began to 
move towards Constantinople by various routes. Hugh 
of Vermandois, brother of Philip I. king of France ; 
Robert II. duke of Normandy; Eobert count of 

FIRST CRUSADE, A.D^ 1096. 121 

Flanders ; Stephen count of Blois and Chartres, with a. d. 
some other independent leaders of inferior rank, took ^ ^^""^ ^ 
the well-known road through Italy, where they passed 
the winter. Bohemund, now Prince of Tarentum, 
caught something of their religious enthusiasm, which 
he ingrafted on his own private schemes of personal 
ambition and rapacity ; but he was accompanied by 
his kinsman Tancred, one of the noblest characters of 
the crusade. Hugh of Vermandois, proud of every- 
thing — of his high birth, of his having received a con- 
secrated banner from the Pope, and of his tall person — 
was impatient to reach Constantinople before any of 
his comrades, hoping to impose on the Byzantine court 
by his grandeur. Embarking at Bari with a small 
suite, he landed in the neighbourhood of Dyrrachium.^ 
He soon learned how little respect the Greeks enter- 
tained either for the piety or splendour of crusading 
princes. John Comnenus, the emperor's nephew, was 
governor of Dyrrachium, and as he was well informed 
of the views of the imperial court, he detained the 
great Hugh until he should receive orders from the 
capital. When Alexius heard that the man of highest 
rank among the Crusaders was in his power, he began 
to speculate in what manner he could turn the accident 

^ Aona, 288, says that the greater part of Hugh's followers were lost in a 
storm, and that the vessel in which he embarked was shipwrecked between 
Palos and Dyrrachium. It may be observed that it is often impossible to 
reconcile the account of Anna with the narratives of the Western historians of 
the Crusades. On this subject Wilken and Michaud must be consulted ; but 
two examples of events unnoticed by the Western writers deserve notice, aa 
both seem founded on fact, however much Auna may have erred in details. 
She mentions a Count of Preventz, who sailed from the south of Italy, and 
fought a naval engagement with the Byzantine fleet at the entrance of the 
Adriatic. — P. 290. Ducange is undoubtedly wrong in supposing she meant Ray- 
mund count of St Qilles and Toulouse, who sometimes took the titles of Duke 
of Narbonne and Count of Frovincia, afterwards Provence. Anna calls Ray- 
mund SoyycXi/f , and speaks of him with great respect. She also mentions a 
Count Baoul, who arrived at Constantinople after Godfrey had crossed to Asia. 
The Western writers know nothing of this leader, though she says he had an 
army of fifteen thousand men.— P. 298. That she exaggerates numbers on 
all occasions there is no doubt. This coimt, with his aimy, was transported 
to Palestine by the Byzantine fleet, according to Anna. 


BooKiiL to the greatest advantage. He sent Butumites, an 
"' "' * ^ officer of rank, to conduct the Count of Vermandois to 
Constantinople with becoming honour ; and though he 
really detained him as a hostage, he received him with 
distinction, and endeavoured to gain his goodwill, in 
which he soon succeeded. Hugh of Vermandois, not- 
withstanding his presumption and the royal blood of 
France, was the first leader of the crusade who was 
induced to do homage and swear fealty to the Greek 
emperor. But the circumstance of his arrest, and the 
degradation of his homage, spread distrust through the 
army, which had now passed the north-western fron- 
tier of the empire, under the guidance of Godfrey of 

Godfrey, the future king of Jerusalem, conducted 
the most warlike if not the most numerous body of 
the Crusaders. Though attended by irregular bands, 
who committed great disorders in the march through 
Hungary and Bulgaria, he maintained such discipline 
among his regular troops that his cavalry arrived at 
Philippopolis in good condition. He there learned that 
the brother of the liege lord of most of the crusading 
barons was a prisoner at Constantinople, and he sent 
an embassy to demand his immediate release. Alex- 
ius' refusal to comply with this demand was the signal 
for commencing hostilities. Godfrey advanced by 
Adrianople and Seljnnbria, laying waste the country 
and pillaging the inhabitant^ until he reached the 
walls of Constantinople. Alexius, alarmed at the 
energy and nimibers of his enemies, sent Hugh to the 
camp of the Crusaders, and peace was thereby restored, 
but confidence could not be so easily re-established.^ 

^ Anna, 263, excuses the unjust conduct of her father to Hugh, by saying he 
wrote an insolent letter, of which she gives a paraphrase on which little 
dependence can be placed. Hugh was called ** the great" merely on account 
of his size, and it would be more correct to say '* long" Hugh. 

'At the time of the first crusade the Bysantine troops made no use of 


It was about Christmas, 1096, that this division of a. d. 
the anny reached the Bosphorus. Its hostile attitude, ^ ^^'"^ ^* 
and the news that Bohemund, his ancient enemy, was 
approaching, in company with another division, whose 
number exceeded this army by which he had more 
than once been defeated, increased the alarm of Alexius. 
The emperor now exerted aU his ability, and used every 
machination of flattery, force, and bribery, to secure 
himself against the evil designs of Bohemund, whom 
he regarded as the heir of his father's ambitious pro- 
jects, by engaging the crusading chiefe to do homage 
to the Eastern Empire, and swear fidelity to his person. 
It was with considerable difficulty that Godfrey was 
persuaded by Hugh of Vermandois to consent to this 
measure. At last, however, a treaty was concluded 
between Alexius and the Crusaders. On the one hand, 
the emperor engaged to assist the Crusaders to recover 
the Holy Sepulchre, to supply them with an auxiliary 
force, to protect all the pilgrims who passed through 
his dominions, and to take care that the armies of the 
Crusaders should be amply supplied with provisions, 
in open markets, at reasonable prices. On the other 
hand, the leaders of the crusade promised to conmiit 
no disorders in the empire, to treat Alexius as their 
liege lord while within his dominions, to deliver up to 
him all the cities which had recently belonged to the 
empire as soon as they recovered them from the Turks, 
and to do him homage and swear fidelity to his throne. 
The word of an emperor was regarded a sufficient 
guarantee for the faith of Alexius ; but the princes of 
the crusade, being already the liegemen of other sove- 

crossbows, and Anna, 291, deecribes them as a terrible weapon. By a decree 
of the second Cooncil of the Lateran, a.d. 1 1 39, the crossbow was forbidden as 
too mortal a weapon. Princes, nobles, and bishops then considered war an 
amnsement, that ought not to be rendered too dangerous for the aristocracy ; 
and they saw with grief that the quarrel of a crossbow, like the bullet of a 
rifle, had no respect for a damascened cuirass. Richard Coeur-de-Lion again 
introduced the deadly weapon, and was slain by it. 


BooKiiL reigns, took an oath of fidelity, and did homage to 
^l^liy Alexius, in regular form, to the extent of the engage- 
ments contracted by their treaty. On the nature and 
extent of these engagements, it is probable that the 
contracting parties, even at the time, placed a different 
interpretation, and they have been the subject of a 
good deal of discussion since. 

Bohemund would have avoided doing homage and 
swearing fealty to Alexius if possible ; but he soon 
perceived that he must follow his companions, and 
endeavour to profit for the time by the favour of 
Alexius, rather than appear openly as his enemy. 
Still, both he and Alexius for some time could not 
refrain from acting on feelings of mutual suspicion and 
jealousy, which led them into serious political errors ; 
indeed, the hostile feelings and intriguing ambition 
of Bohemund, rendered his presence in the crusading 
camp no small addition to the nimierous causes of 
quarrel which occurred between the Greeks and the 
Crusaders. Fortunately for Alexius, the alliance he 
had contracted with Robert the Frison in 1088, secured 
him the friendship of his son Robert count of Flanders, 
one of the most powerful and valiant leaders of the 
expedition, whose influence in some degree counter- 
acted the intrigues of the crafty Norman.^ 

It was with the greatest difficulty, and not without 
actual hostilities with Godfrey, that Alexius succeeded 
in persuading the leaders to transport their troops over 
to Asia. All wished to enter Constantinople, and 
none wished to quit it when they had entered. Its 
luxuries and amusements so enchanted the young 
warriors of the West, that they would fain have post- 
poned their vows in the pursuit of pleasure, GodJErey, 

^ Robert, called the Jeroaalemite, succeeded his father, Robert the Frison, 
as Count of Flanders in 1098. His possessions and his alliances were so yari- 
ous, that he did homage to the kings of France and England, and to the 
emperors of Qennany and Byzantium, on different grounds. 


with the first division of the army, did not cross the a. d. 
Bosphonis until the middle of March 1097. In the *^^""^^' 
mean time Bohemund, Robert count of Flanders, Robert 
duke of Normandy, Stephen count of Blois, and Eus- 
tace count of Bologne, followed one another in succes- 
sion from the ports on the Adriatic, and after doing 
homage to Alexius, and receiving valuable presents 
from him, collected all their followers in Asia.^ Ray- 
mond count of St Giles and Toulouse was the last of 
the chiefs who joined the army. He had been the first 
to take the cross, but his preparations occupied much 
time, for he made a vow never to return to his rich 
domains, having resolved to spend the rest of his life 
in the East as a Christian soldier. Could he have 
foreseen that the power of his fandly and the wealth 
of his subjects were soon to become the spoil of another 
crusade, what would have been the bitterness of his 
feelings 1 Raymond collected so large an army that 
he deemed it prudent to avoid as much as possible the 
routes of those who preceded him. His own line of 
march was, nevertheless, very ill chosen. After passing 
through the north of Italy, instead of descending the 
vaUey of the Save, he proceeded from Friouli through 
Dalmatia. The country was mountainous, destitute 
of roads, and thinly peopled ; the inhabitants were 
poor, and avoided the strangers, concealing their cattle 
and provisions in their most sequestered valleys. Hos- 
tilities took place; Raymond put out his prisoners' eyes 
and cut off their hands and noses to intimidate their 
countrymen, and thereby increased his difficulties.^ 

^ It was perhaps fortunate for Alexius that Qodfrey's disputes with Alexius 
were terminated, and that he crossed over to Asia before the arriyal of Bohe- 
mund. — ^Albertus Aquen., ii H ; Bongars, 202. Alexius made Bohemund the 
present of a palace without the walls, near the church of Cosmas and Damianos 
(the Sto. Anai^ghyroi), which was afterwards generally called by the Franks the 
Castle of Bohemund.— William of Tyre, ii 8 ; Bongars, 656. 

* MiehhVidfBibliographUdetCrouadeit'n.A^, The mode in which Bohemund 
treated the country was not likely to insure Raymond a friendly reception. 


BOOK m. At last he reached Scodra, where he was met by Bodin 
cmji^l j^g ^£ Servia, but the poverty of the country was so 
great that no adequate supplies of provisions could be 
obtained ; and this army of Crusaders, though better 
prepared for their journey than any other, suflFered 
greater hardships. Even after reaching Dyrrachium, 
as they had to march over ground traversed by their 
predecessors, they were compelled to fight their way 
through the Albanian, Sclavonian, and Bulgarian popu- 
lation of Epirus, Macedonia, and Thrace. 

The conduct of Alexius to Raymond was at first 
extremely haughty and imprudent. Raymond left his 
troops at Redestos, and repaired to Constantinople to 
wait on the emperor; but his refusal to do homage like 
the other princes offended the vanity of Alexius, who, 
thinking the troops of the count were exhausted by 
fatigue, cut off their supplies of provisions, and sent 
armed men to harass them in their quarters, hoping 
by these measures to force Raymond to do homage. 
The Count of St GUes was neither to be moved by 
fear of the emperor nor by the solicitations of the other 
Crusaders. He declared that he had not taken the 
cross to enter the service of any earthly sovereign, but 
that if the Byzantine emperor would place himself at 
the head of the expedition, he was ready to obey all 
his orders. The proceedings of Alexius threatened 
war, and it required aU the prudence of Godfrey and 
Robert of Flanders to prevent the indignation of Ray- 
mond letting loose his army on the environs of Con- 
stantinople. Bohemund, gained over for the time by 

The historians of the crusade call the country between the Adriatic and Thessa- 
lonica very often Bulgaria. They sometimes talk of burning the towns belonging 
to the heretical subjects of Alexius with perfect indifference. The proceedings 
of Bohemund are thus recounted : '' Egressi de castoria intravimus Pelagoniam 
in qu4 erat quoddam hereticorum castram, quod undique aggressi sumus, 
mozque nostro succubuit imperio : accenso itaque igne, combussimus castrum 
cum habitatoribus suis, scilicet h»reticorum congregatione."<— Gcfta Frauoorum 
ft aliorum Bieratoltftnatanorum, i i ; Bongars, 3. 


the liberality of Alexius, went so far as to tell the a. d. 
Count of Toulouse that, in case of hostilities breaking ^^J^^®- 
out, he should hold it his duty to serve Alexius as his 
liege lord. This threat the haughty Eajmond never 
forgave. The other leaders at last arranged the quar- 
rel. Rajnnond swore to observe the treaty entered 
into by the other Crusaders, and never to undertake 
anything against the life or the honour of Alexius, but 
he refused to do him homage. A more intimate ao 
quaintance with the honourable though haughty cha- 
racter of the count showed the emperor the impolicy of 
the quarrel. He perceived that no projects of worldly 
ambitions caused the refusal of Raymond, nor could 
power ever be held by a Crusader less inclined to seek 
wealth and conquest at the expense of the empire. 
He found that the word of Raymond was as good a 
guarantee as the oath of others, and he then endea- 
voured, by every means in his power, to gain the good 
opinion of one he had received in the beginning so ill. 
As Raymond, though severe and haughty, was frank 
and loyal, he soon forgave the hostilities of Alexius, 
but he never pardoned the insolent threat of the up- 
start Bohemund.^ 

The conduct of Alexius towards the Crusaders was 
certainly deficient both in candour and prudence, but 
he had a very diflficult part to act ; and it must be 
admitted that all his fears and distrust were fully jus- 
tified by the rapine of the private soldiers, who plun- 
dered his subjects, and the insolence of the chiefs, who 
insulted his authority. The memorable anecdote of 
the insolence of a petty French chieftain, who has 
been supposed by Ducange to have been a count of 
Paris, and who rudely seated himself on the imperial 

^ Anna Comnena, S05 ; Raimond de Agiles, HUtoria Francorum; Bongars, 
141. Aleziua, however, had good reaaou to distrust Raymond until he knew 
him, for the historian Raimond mentions that the count's army took and 
plundered the city of Boasa— '^ Paulisper nostra solita patientia displicuit." 


BOOK ra. throne at a solemn audience, is familiar both to the 
"'"' ' readers of history and romance. His conduct must 
have appeared to the Byzantine courtiers an act of 
high treason deserving death, and it was regarded by 
the princes of the crusade as an intolerable piece of 
rudeness and brutality.^ The Franks and Greeks were 
at this time in social conditions which rendered it 
impossible for them to associate together without feel- 
ings of mutual contempt. The narration of Anna 
Comnena enables us to contrast in a curious manner 
the experienced anility of the Byzantine court with the 
idleness and mental inanity of the Western artistocracy. 
She complains, with great reason, of the presumption, 
vanity, and loquacity of the chiefs, who, considering 
themselves entitled by their rank to converse with the 
emperor, compelled him to sacrifice hour after hour of 
his valuable time listening to their pretensions and 
solicitations. Alexius knew that these men were inde- 
pendent chiefs, and he was anxious to avoid giving 
them offence, for their power so often exceeded their 
judgment that the neglect of a childish demand or the 
irritation of an unintentional slight might plunge his 
empire in a dangerous and bloody war. The personal 
behaviour of Alexius was more judicious than his poli- 
tical system. He did everything to conciliate the 
nobles, and his patience, good-humour, and liberality 
overcame many difficulties, but his health suffered 
from the fatigue of the interminable audiences he gave 
the leaders amidst the toils of his other occupations. 
The silly loquacity of men who wasted their days in 
idle talk and vain boasting made a very unfavourable 
impression on the Byzantine nobles, whose social inter- 
course retained much of Eoman gravity, formalised by 

^ This count is a more prominent person in modem times than he was in his 
own day. It is very doubtiul who he reeilly was, but it appears that he was mor- 
tally wounded at Doryleeum. — Compare Anna Comnena, 800, 317; the note of 
Ducange, p. 362; and Albertus Aquenses, Iii$t, Uitros^ iL 39; Bongars, 211. 


Oriental ceremony. The chiefe of the crusade also dis- a. d. 
played an unseemly eagerness to obtain money and ^^"^" ^* 
presents from the emperor. Tancred, the flower of 
Norman chivalry, openly expressed his disgust at the 
rapacity of his companions. When solicited to do 
homage to Alexius, which he would fain have avoided, 
he could not repress his sneers at their venality. Look- 
ing one day at the magnificent tent of the emperor, 
which all were admiring, Tancred exclaimed, "If Alexius 
would give me that tent full of money, and as much 
more as he has given to our princes, I might think of 
doing him homage.'' * 

The feudal nations and the subjects of the Byzan- 
tine empire formed different estimates of the exigencies 
of society. Political order, security of property, and 
the supremacy of the judicial administration, were, in 
the opinion of the Eastern Christians, the true objects 
of government. Personal independence, and the right 
of each noble to redress his wrongs with his own 
sword, were the most valuable privileges of freemen, in 
the opinion of the Frank nations. The authority of a 
central administration, which made the most powerful 
noble submit to the law, was regarded by the feudal 
barons as an intolerable despotism; while the right 
of private war, as it existed in western Europe, was 
considered by the Greeks as a state of anarchy suit- 
able only to a society of lawless bandits. Nor were 
the feelings of the Eastern and Western clergy towards 

^ Anna Comnena, 294, 316. Wilken, De rAu$ a Comnenu ff^ttit, 849, who 
refers to Radnlphua CadomenBiB, whose work, Getta Tancredi, has been printed 
in Martenne and Dunmd. Thuaurut Nawi* Aneedoiorumf torn, iii 108 ; and 
in Muratori's JUrum ItaUoarum Seriptoret, torn. v. 285. See Michaud, Bibliw 
graphie da Oroisadeif vi. 818, 388. Anna Comnena speaks again of the endless 
talking of the Franks, yXa»(r(raXyta, at page 486, where she gives an interesting 
account of the annoyance their conduct caused to Alexius. She represents the 
proud chivalry of the West as a mob of overgrown children, who talked inces- 
santly without any idea of the value of time, and as barbarians who*were ruled 
by their passions without any sense of the duties of their position. The con- 
duct of we Crusaders in war, which was a subject they protended thoroughly 
to understand, proves that the judgment of the princess was not too severe. 


BOOK in. one another calculated to infiise any addition of Chris- 
L!!L." tian charity into the intercourse of the Greeks and 
Franks.^ The unfounded and arrogant pretensions of 
the popes excited the opposition of the whole Greek 
church, and were ably exposed by its more learned 
members. The general ignorance of the Latin clergy 
raised feelings of contempt, which were changed into 
abhorrence when the Greeks beheld men calling them- 
selves bishops clad in coats of maQ, riding through the 
streets on fiery chargers, and returning from battle 
covered with blood.^ On the other hand, the Latin 
priests despised the Eastern clergy as a time-serving 
and slavish body, utterly unfit to uphold the dignity of 
the priesthood, and they condemned those doctrines as 
heretical which taught that the clergy were bound to 
submit to the civU magistrate. In addition to these 
incongruities, the rival nations mutually reproached 
one another as insolent, false, and treacherous. 

One of the primary causes of the quarrels between 
the Crusaders and the subjects of the Byzantine em- 
pire arose from the attempts made by the government 
and its officials to make unfair profits in selling pro- 
visions to the strangers. The financial administration 
of Alexius was remarkable for its rapacity and bad 
faith. He had cheated his own subjects by issuing 
debased coin in pajrment of his debts, and enriched 
his treasury by oppressive monopolies. He attempted 
the same system with the Crusaders; but when he 

^ I use the ftppellation Frank in the way it is generally used by the Eastern 
nations, as including all the western Europeans. 

' The warlike habits of the Latin cleigy justly excited the indigxiation of all 
true Christians. Richard Coeur de Lion, finding the Bishop of Beauvais, whom he 
had taken prisoner in battle, a troublesome antagonist^ demanded a lai^e ran- 
som for his deliverance. The Pope sent to intercede for his beloved spiritual 
child. Richard, in reply, sent the armour of the Christian pastor all stained 
with blood to Riome, and it was presented to his holiness, who was asked if he 
recognised his son's coat As a proof of the great rarity of the precious metals 
in Normandy as compared with Constantinople, it is worthy of notice that the 
bishop's ransom was only two thousand marks of silver. The mark was then 
two-thirds of a pound weight. — Rapin's Bittory of England, iii. 14^ 8vo ed. 

CONQUEST OF NIO-ffiA, A.D. 1097. 131 

beheld the numbers of the armies they assembled a. d. 
under the walls of Constantinople, he saw the necessity ^°^|^®- 
of laying aside his previous practice, and attempted, by 
a liberal distribution of money and provisions, to efface 
the memory of his earlier frauds. For a time the crusad- 
ing army appeared to be no better than a host of Byzan- 
tine mercenaries ; the imperialpaymasters carriedbags of 
gold byzants to the leaders, and distributed quarter by- 
zants, or tetartera, among the inferior officers and men.^ 
The first warlike operation of the Crusaders against 
the Turks was the siege of Nicsea, a city which, by the 
terms of their treaty with Alexius, they were bound to 
restore to the empire. The Byzantine army was so 
much inferior to that of the Crusaders in number, that 
the emperor deemed it prudent to watch the siege from 
a camp at Felekanon, without taking part in the attack. 
His general, Tatikios, joined the besiegers with two 
thousand light cavalry ; and a number of boats were 
transported on waggons from Kios to the Ascanian lake 
and filled with Byzantine troops, under the command 
of Butumites, to blockade Niceea on the side towards the 
lake.2 The Sultan Kilidy-Arslan was defeated in an 
attempt to raise the siege, and the inhabitants, seeing 
that they could not long resist the incessant assaults of 
the Franks, entered into secret arrangements with the 
Byzantine troops on the lake, and admitted them into 
the city on receiving a charter from the emperor pro- 
mising that the lives and property of the Turkish 
inhabitants should be respected. By this treaty the 
Byzantine forces entered the city unknown to the 
Crusaders, who were informed of its surrender by see- 
ing the Byzantine ensigns displayed on the walls. 

^ The ByBRntine ooinage oonsisted of gold bjEants, or nomismata, of the 
semiasifl or half, the tremifniB or third, and the rmprrfpdv or quarter. These 
are all mentioned by historiansi and to be found in all collections. The speci- 
mens I possess weigh respectiyely 88 grs., 28 grs., and 17 grs., for the half, 
third, and quarter. 

' Kios IB called also Kibitos, by the Latins Civitot, now Ohio or Ghiuinlek. 


BOOK in. Many of the besiegers were enraged at being thus de- 
chjmi. pj^^^ q£ |.j^g plunder of the first Mohammedan city 
they had attacked. Alexius, however, pacified the dis- 
content by dividing great part of the public property 
that fell into his hands among the Crusaders, and fur- 
nishing them with abundant supplies of provisions, to 
enable them to hasten forward through Asia Minor.^ 
The emperor at the same time placed a strong garrison 
in Nicaea, and enrolled in his service many Franks who 
were without the means of continuing their journey. 

The crusading army quitted the neighbourhood of 
Nicaea about the end of June,andreached Antioch on the 
21st October 1097. The country through which they 
passed had long been the ordinary line of march for 
the Byzantine armies, and an excellent road for the 
transport of baggage and provisions had existed only 
thirty years before, when Romanus IV. (Diogenes) com- 
menced his unfortunate war with Alp Arslan ; but the 
country was now everywhere depopulated, the roads 
had become impassable, the bridges were broken down, 
the cisterns ruined, and the wells filled up. The assist- 
ance of the petty Armenian princes in Cilicia and Mount 
Taurus proved of more use to them than the alliance 
of Alexius.^ Never, perhaps, had any country fallen 
so rapidly from civilisation to barbarism, or changed 

^ There exists a letter of Stephen count of Blois and Chartres to his wife 
Adela, the daughter of William the Conqueror, dated from Nicaea, which praises 
the conduct of the Emperor Alexius, and declares that through his cajre tlie 
camp was abundantly supplied with provisions during the siege. He men- 
tions also how Alexius distributed the booty taken in the city. This testi- 
mony of an enlightened prince ought to be weighed against the declamation of 
prejudiced monks.— See Michaud, Bibliographie det Croiscidet, vi. 357 ; Mabil- 
lon, Mu$eum Italictun, tom. L part ii. 237. 

' Constantino I. was then king of Cilician Armenia, and resided at Vahtak 
on Mount Taurus.— Chamich, Higtory of Armenia, iL 169. The Crusaders 
stormed Tarsus, which seems to have been in the hands of the Mohammedans ; 
but the Armenian historians say it was govemed by Ochin, an Armenian in the 
Byzantine sendee, who had distinguished himself at the battle of Dynachium. 
— Lebeau, Hittcire du Bat-Empire, xv. 141, 348 note. The treaty between 
Alexius and Bohemund in 1 1 08 implies that Tarsus formed part of the Byzantine 
empire, but Bohemund might consider this as a consequence of its conquest from 
the Ct;u8ader8 by Monastras, the general of Alexius.— Anna Gomnena, 340, 413. 


the great body of its inhabitants, its language, religion, 
and mode of life so completely as Asia Minor in the 
latter half of the eleventh century. A single genera- 
tion accomplished what a thousand years have often in 
other circumstances vainly laboured to eflfect. But the 
Crusaders, in defiance of sufierings and opposition, ad- 
vanced steadily, if slowly, storming every city that 
refused to assist them. At Gtermanicia, Baldwin, the 
brother of Godfrey, quitted the grand army, which 
continued its march to Antioch, and moved eastward 
to take possession of Edessa^ a city which still acknow- 
ledged allegiance to the Byzantine emperor. It had 
surrendered to Pouzan, one of the generals of Malek- 
shah, in the year 1087, but during the contests of the 
Turks and Saracens in the north of Syria it had re- 
covered its independence. Baldwin now sullied the 
honour of the Franks, by exciting the people to mur- 
der their governor Theodore, and rebel against the 
Byzantine authority ; he then took possession of the 
place in his own name, and foimded the Frank princi- 
pality of Edessa, which lasted about forty-seven years.^ 
This was a direct violation of the treaty with Alexius. 
Antioch was besieged for seven months. It was 
winter, and the suflferings of the Crusaders were so 
great that many deserted the army. Tatikios retired 
with the Byzantine auxiliaries to Cyprus. Kobert duke 
of Normandy went off to Laodicea, and it required 
three citations of the chiefs to recall him to his duty. 
WiUiam viscount of Melun, and Peter the Hermit him- 
self, attempted to escape to Europe, but were brought 
back to the camp by Tancred.^ At length Antioch 
was taken by the treachery of an officer, who admitted 

^ Edoeaa was retaken by the Mohammedans under Zenghi, son of Aksankar, 
the father of Noureddin, at the end of 1144 or boginning of lli6,^ El^gU $ur 
la ptiie <FEde$ie, par Nenh KlaietH, Patriarthe d* Armenia, fmvrage puhlxi en 
Armenien par la SocUU Anatique: Paris, 1828. 

' Michaud, I 266. 

A. D. 



BOOK iiL Bohemund into one of its towers. The departure of 
CH^M^i. ^j^^ Byzantine contingent served as a good pretext for 
refusing to cede the city of Antioch to Alexius, who 
had afforded them no assistance, nor attempted any 
diversion in their favour, when they were placed in a 
very critical position immediately after gaining posses- 
sion of the city. Alexius was advancing with a consider- 
able army in the spring of 1098, in the hope of securing 
Antioch to himself but on reaching Philomelium he 
heard that it had already surrendered ; but at the same 
time he was informed that an immense army, under 
Kerboga, the emir of Mossoul, which had been sent by 
the Grand Sultan Barkyarok, was about to make an 
attempt to recover the place. Several deserters from 
the crusading army, and particularly Stephen count of 
Blois and Chartres, brought alarming accounts of the 
magnitude of the Turkish army, and of the unprepared 
condition of the Crusaders. Their reports induced 
Alexius to make a precipitate retreat to Constantinople ; 
and in order to retard the progress of the Turks, whom 
he imagined were already pursuing his army, he 
invited all the Christians in Phrygia to retire with their 
families and property into the provinces of the Byzan- 
tine empire, and thus save themselves from the inroads 
of the Mohammedans. The Crusaders defeated the 
Turkish army, and Bohemund became prince of Antioch 
rather by his own intrigues than in consequence of 
any regular concession on the part of the leaders of the 

As Alexius had employed the summer of 1097 in 
recovering possession of Smjrma, Ephesus, Sardis, Phi- 
ladelphia^ and many other cities on the west coast of 
Asia Minor,^ the Crusaders determined to ask some ex- 

^ Laodioea in Phrygia waa allowed to gOTera iteelf by ita own magiatratea with- 
out being aubjected to the opproaaion of an imperial prefect Ita advanoed 
poaition rendered it neceaaary to animate the apiiit and conciliate the goodwill 
of the inhabitant&^Anna Comnena, 824. 


planation of his neglecting to make a diversion in their 
fevonr when they were attacked by Eerboga. Hugh 
of Yermandois and Baldwin of Hainault were sent to 
Constantinople as ambassadors for this purpose, and to 
invite the emperor to join the army and march at its 
head to Jerusalem ; on that condition they offered to 
put him in possession of Antioch and all their other 
conquests. But in case of his refusal, the ambassadors 
were instructed to declare that, Alexius having failed 
to perform his engagements, the treaty was annulled, 
and the Crusaders renounced the fealty they had sworn. 
AU this was strictly in accordance with feudal usages, 
and Alexius had no reason to complain of the proceed- 
ing. The mission proved every way unfortunate, 
Baldwin was never heard of^ and was probably mur- 
dered by the bands of brigands who infested Asia 
Minor. Hugh of Vermandois, finding Alexius occupied 
with other business, and not likely to afford his com- 
panions any assistance, abandoned their cause, and 
returned to France. 

It is not surprising that Alexius declined joining the 
Crusaders. He knew that he was not likely to be 
obeyed, and he might doubt whether he would be able 
to force Baldwin and Bohemund to surrender their 
conquests. His own absence from Constantinople 
might also be attended with danger, in an empire where 
pretenders to the throne were constantly starting up, 
and where feelings of loyalty and hereditary right were 
almost unknown. Besides this, the arrival of fresh 
bands of Crusaders required the presence of a consi- 
derable military force, under his immediate direction, 
to protect Constantinople and the environs.^ Armed 

1 During th« yean 1098 and 1099, a coniiniial stream of armed pilgrims 
traversed the Byaantine empire. Sueno the son of the King of Denmark, 
Edgar Atheling with a body of Anglo-Saxons, and Fergant with a band of Celts 
from Bretagne, followed the Cmsaders befSore the conquest of Jerusalem. Sueno 
perished in Asia Minor with a body of cavalry before he joined them. Other 
armies followed. Eudes duke of Buigundy, Stephen count of Blois (who re- 

A. D. 


BOOK III. pilgrmis, who considered that by taking the cross they 
ciKiM 1. j^ purchased absolution for every crime, could only 
be restrained from plundering the emperor's subjects 
by fear of the consequences ; for we must not overlook 
the fact, that the Crusaders b^an about this time to 
drain off poverty and crime fix)m the western nations 
of Europe, somewhat as emigration and transportation 
perform that service for Great Britain at present. It 
was also a matter of greater importance to the security 
of the Byzantine empire that the Turks should be ex- 
pelled from Bithynia and Phrygia than from Syria and 

Unfortunately for the Byzantine empire, Alexius was 
more eager to gain some diplomatic advantage over the 
Latins than to promote the prosperity of his subjects 
and consolidate the strength of the empire. He sent 
an embassy to the leaders of the crusade, which found 
them encamped before Archas. His ambassadors de- 
manded that all the towns they had conquered in Syria 
should be surrendered to the imperial officers. The 
princes of the crusade, already disgusted with the 
cowardly manner in which he had deserted their cause 
before the battle with Eerboga, and no longer standing 
in need of his assistance, since they had opened com- 
munications with the fleets of the Italian republics, 
treated his ill-timed demand with scorn, and dismissed 
his envoys with reproaches. Nevertheless the emperor 
gained possession of the city of Laodicea in Syria, 
which, however, he soon lost. The inhabitants of 

turned to redeem lus honour), the Count of Blaiidras (Biandrate), Anselm 
archbishop of Milan, Conrad constable of Henry IV. of Germany, the Counts 
of Nevers and Bourges, William count of Poitiers, the Duke of Bavaria, and 
Hugh of Vermandois (who, like Stephen of Blois, was driven back by shame), all 
came attended by numerous bodies of troops, which sometimes united to form 
armiea Their own historians record the disorders they committed. The 
Greeks and Bulgarians who dwelt in the open country on their line of march 
were plundered. To the horror of the Eastern Christians engaged in agricul- 
ture, these pilgrims devoured working oxen during Lent ; and to the terror of 
the Byzantine courtiers, they insulted the imperial power under the walls of 
Constantinople. — Miclmud, Bibliographie det CroUades, vi. 67. 


Laodicea had thrown off the Turkish yoke, with the a. d. 

.^__ * I fift 1 1111) 
assistance of a Flemish pirate named Guymer, about _; " 

the time the Crusaders took Antioch. The Byzantine 
fleet soon after landed a garrison, and Guymer, who 
was endeavouring to establish himself as an indepen- 
dent prince, was thrown into prison. But the Cru- 
saders, on their march from Antioch to Acre, entered 
Laodicea, and the Byzantine garrison retired to Cyprus. 
Guymer gained his liberty. Raymond of Toulouse, 
who was left in possession of the city, now surren- 
dered it to the officers of Alexius, rather than leave 
it to be occupied by his enemy Bohemund. Androni- 
cus^ the Byzantine governor, however, was unable 
to retain possession of it for any length of time. Tan- 
cred soon laid siege to it, and compelled it to' capi- 

In the mean time the Crusaders, who continued to 
arrive at Constantinople, gave Alexius almost as much 
trouble, and threatened the empire with as great dan- 
ger, as the expedition under Godfrey. Jerusalem was 
already in the hands of the grand army, when a body 
of Lombards, accompanied, but certainly not com- 
manded, by their archbishop, entered Bulgaria. Their 
conduct was more lawless than that of the followers 
of Walter the Pennyless and Peter the Hermit, They 
remained some time in the environs of Constantinople, 
waiting the arrival of a nimiber of French and Grerman 
pilgrims who were known to have taken the cross. 
Their insolence alarmed Alexius, who insisted on their 
passing over into Asia before new bands arrived, as it 
would be impossible to furnish all with provisions. 
With this requisition they refused to comply, and it 
was necessary to compel them by force. Hostilities 

^ Quymer of Bologne, called also Vinemar, had commanded a piratical fleet 
of Flemings and Hollanders in the Mediterranean for ten years. He first 
communicated with the Crusaders at Tarsus. It was at Laodicea that Edgar 
Athcling joined the Crusaders.— Michaud, i. 232, 364. 


BOOK m. broke out ; the Lombards attempted to storm the 
^"'^^ quarter of Blachem, and it was with great diflficulty 
that the Archbishop of Milan and Raymond of Tou- 
louse succeeded in re-establishing order, and persuading 
them to cross the Bosphorus. They were soon after 
joined by the Count of Blois and the CJonstable of the 
Emperor of Germany. The brilliant appearance of their 
camp, which was soon filled with wealthy nobles, raised 
the confidence of the Lombards to the highest pitch. 
They spoke with contempt of the exploits of the first 
army which had taken Jerusalem, and, scorning to follow 
in the track of others, they determined to march to Bag- 
dad, and destroy the caliphate. Raymond of Toulouse 
was appointed their leader, but he had little power 
over the disorderly Italians. Alexius^ however, sup- 
plied them with five hundred Turkopuls to serve as 
guides, — an admirable species of light cavalry, but 
whose origin made them an object of suspicion to the 

This army took Ancyra without difficulty, and 
crossed the Halys without order or precaution, plunder- 
ing the inhabitants indiscriminately whether they were 
Christians or Mohammedans. On one occasion the 
inhabitants of a town came out to meet them in solemn 
procession, headed by their priests, bearing the crucifix 
and pictures of their protecting saints. Some acts of 
hostility had taken place in the neighbourhood, and 
the dress of the Greek priests being different from that 
of the Latin clergy, the Crusaders would not listen to 
a word of explanation, but immediately massacred the 
peaceful citizens and the ministers of religion. Their 

' These Turkopuls were generally the o&pring of a Turkish and Chris- 
tian parent, or else Christian Turks who were settled as colonists in the Byzan- 
tine empire, many of whom were descendants of those Turks who had entered 
Europe from the north of the Black Sea. But at a later period they were 
generally the o£bpring of Seljouk Turks, and their importance proves the 
rapidity with which the Turkish population displaced the Greek in Asia 


bratal conduct and want of discipline caused their a. d. 

ruin. Before they reached Amasia they were sur- _J 

rounded by the Turks, their foraging parties were cut 
off; they could obtain no information, for the CJhristians 
feared them more than the Turks. They were at last 
attacked and completely defeated. A few only of the 
leaders escaped, by having maintained some discipline 
among their personal followers. Raymond, who had 
long foreseen the inevitable issue of the enterprise, 
saved himself with the Turkopuls by a precipitate 

This unfortunate expedition was followed by others 
equally disastrous. The Count of Nevers, with a large 
aimy, was defeated ; and he himself, with a few others, 
reached Antioch on foot. The Coimt of Poitiers and 
Hugh of Yermandois made their line of march a scene 
of disorder and devastation. Before they reached 
Adrianople they were involved in hostility with the 
Bulgarian and Sclavonian subjects of the empire, and 
with the Patzinak and Koman mercenaries in the By- 
zantine service. The imperial troops were defeated, 
the governor of Adrianople was taken prisoner, and 
Alexius was compelled to make every concession they 
wished, in order to facilitate the progress of these 
furious pilgrims, and allow them to expend their vigour 
in contests with the infidels. This army reached 
Phrygia during the season of the great heats. The 
harvests were abeady removed, the forage exhausted, 
the wells on their road filled up, and the cisterns 
emptied. Disaster and defeat followed in quick suc- 
cession. At last their camp was captured and the 
army dispersed. Hundreds of ladies had joined this 
band, which it was supposed would make their pilgrim- 
age a triumphal prQcession, under the leading of the 
great Hugh : these ladies now became slaves of the 
Mussulmans, and for many years the slave-markets of 


BOOK UL Bagdad and the harems of the East were supplied with 
ch^^ii^i. j^^Y^Ye ladies, whom the defeats of the Crusaders were 
contiQually consigning to perpetual slavery. Hugh of 
Vermandois escaped to Tarsus, where he died of fatigue, 
and the Coimt of Poitiers reached Antioch with only 
six attendants. The Latins would not allow that their 
disasters were caused by their own misconduct and 
imprudence; they persisted in attributing all their 
misfortunes to the treachery of the Greeks ; and though 
Alexius delivered many from captivity, the Crusaders 
generally regarded him as an enemy.^ 

The personal jealousy of Alexius and Bohemund in 
the end became the immediate cause of war between 
the Greeks and Latins. Alexius could not forget his 
defeat in Epirus, and he sought revenge by endeavour- 
ing to expel Bohemund from Antioch. Nothing could 
be more ill-judged, for the city was too distant from 
the centre of his power to be a possession of any value, 
and the conquest was sure to involve him in hostilities 
with the Crusaders. In the year 1103 Bohemund was 
taken prisoner by the Emir Danishmend, who had 
formed a principality embracing Sevaste and all the 
country round.' Alexius, hoping to gain possession of 
Antioch, offered to purchase Bohemund from Danish- 
mend; but Eolidy-Arslan claiming the prisoner, as 
representative of the grand sultan in Asia Minor, Dan- 
ishmend, to secure some profit to himself, released 

^ AlexluB relMsed Conrad, the constable of Henry IV. emperor of Oemumy, 
who had fisdlen into the hands of the Sultan of Egypt He also obtained the 
freedom of Harpin viscount of Bouigee, who was a prisoner at Bagdad, by 
threatening to imprison all the Turkish merchants in the Bvzantine empire if 
he were not released. This shows that the grand sultan and Alexius still con- 
sidered they were at peace, and that commercial relations were carried on by 
their subjects. Michaud, L 489, says that Harpin died in slavery ; but the 
authority of Lebeau, and L'AH de Virifier U» Daisi, vL 210, 4to ed., is to be 
preferred. On his return to Franco, he retired into the monastery of Cluny. 

' Danishmend, in Persian, the " son of the learned man .** His fattier had been 
a schoolmaster among the Turkmans, where probably very little learning was 
required. — Michaud, SiUiograpkie det CroUadet, vii. 271. By other writers he is 
called an Armenian apostate. — Noiieet ct ExtraiU dea MSS., ix. Lebcau^ xv. 368. 


Bohemund on receivine: a sum of money paid down, a. n. 

• 1081-1118 

and a promise of support should either Alexius or _i ' 

Kilidy- Arslan attack Him. Alexius, foiled in his attempt 
to make Bohemund his prisoner, attacked Antioch. 
The Byzantine empire was thus rashly brought into 
collision with the Crusaders ; and the Greeks, already 
involved in a contest of commercial interests with the 
maritime states of Italy, were soon excluded from a 
considerable portion of the trade of the Mediterranean 
at a time when it was receiving a great extension. The 
Byzantine army, commanded by Butumites and Monas- 
tras, advanced from Cilicia, but gained no advantage. 
The imperial fleet, on the other hand, commanded the 
sea, and reduced Bohemund to the greatest difficulty. 
He, however, succeeded in forming an alliance with 
the Pisans, who sent a fleet to his aid.^ Part of the 
Pisan force was detached to plunder Corfu, Cephallenia, 
Leucadia, and Zante.^ The main body fell in with the 
Byzantine fleet between Rhodes and Patara. The 
Greeks were commanded by Tatikios and Landolph, a 
Lombard officer of great naval experience ; their van- 
guard was led by Perichytanes, a Peloponnesian noble, 
who traversed the whole Pisan fleet, sending out streams 
of Greek fire from both sides of his vessel ; but he was 
not seconded with promptitude, and the engagement, 
though advantageous to the imperial forces, reflected 
little honour on the Greek navy.* A storm proved 
more injurious to the Pisans than the battle, and only 
a small part of their ships gained the port of Laodicea. 
The Byzantine army now occupied Seleucia and Kory- 

^ Anna Gomnena says the Pisans fitted out nine hundred ships. — P. 335. 

' A large Qenoese fleet had visited the coast of Svria in 1098, before the 
taking of Jerosaleni. In 1099 a Venetian fleet of two hundred sail fell in with 
a Pisan fleet, both on their way to Syria. An engagement took place near 
Rhodes, in whiq|i the Pisans were defeated and lost twenty ships, though the 
two republics were at peace; so piratical and warlike were the mercantile 
expeditions of the age. 

^ Anna calls Perichytines a count of the Byzantine fleet. — P. 386. 


BOOK in. ko% near the mouth of the Kalykadnus, and repaired 
cejij^i. ^^^ fortifications of these towns. A naval division on 
the station completely commanded the channel between 
Cilicia and Cyprus, and excluded the allies of Bohe- 
mund &om shelter on the Asiatic coast, so that the 
communications of the Prince of Antioch were cut off 
during the winter, when the navigators of the time 
feared to venture into the open sea to the south of 

In 1104 a Genoese fleet, engaged in conveying pil- 
grims and merchandise to the East, was instructed to 
assist the Prince of Antioch, with whose dominions the 
Genoese had established commercial relations. The 
Genoese succeeded in avoiding the Byzantine fleet. 
The Greek admiral in the mean time captured the city 
of Laodicea, but could not take the citadel, though it 
was only defended by one hundred cavalry and five 
hundred infantry. The army in Cilicia, under the 
command of Monastras, having received considerable 
reinforcements, proceeded to attack the Normans with 
vigour, and captured Tarsus, Adana, and Mopsuestia 
(Mamistra). The result of the campaign convinced 
Bohemund that without fresh troops he could not 
make head against the forces of the Byzantine empire ; 
but it was no longer an easy matter for succours to 
escape the Greek cruisers. Bohemund, seeing that his 
own presence would be necessary to obtain adequate 
assistance from the West, resolved to run every risk. 
In order to deceive any spies the empdiror might have 
placed in Antioch, he is said to have spread a report 
of his own death ; and Tancred assumed the direction 
of the government of Antioch.^ A coffin was then 
prepared in which he could conceal himself, and in 

1 The armieB of the Frank principalitieB in Syria Boon began to be recruited 
among the native Christians. Armenians formed no inconsiderable part of 
Tancred's troops. — Anna Comnena, 849. 



this way he was embarked at the port of Suda, in a 
vessel of which all the equipage were dressed in 
mourning. The Princess Anna adds that a dead 
fowl was shut up with him in the coffin ; that even 
in case the vessel should be visited by the Greek 
officers, they might be deterred from opening the 
coffin by the offensive odour. " I must acknowledge," 
says the learned lady, '' that there is nothing capable 
of overcoming the obstinacy with which the barba- 
rians pursue their plans." ^ Bohemund reached the 
coast of Italy in safety, but a contrary wind delayed 
him at the entrance of the Adriatic until his provi- 
sions and water were exhausted. He ventured to 
visit Corfa in order to obtain refreshments and pur- 
chase provisions ; and the governor, not possessing 
a sufficient force to attack this redoubted enemy of 
the empire, permitted the communication. On quit- 
ting Corfu, Bohemund sent this message to the Byzan- 
tine governor — '' Inform your master that the Prince 
of Antioch has arisen from the dead, and will soon 
give proofs of his vitality." 

Bohemund hastened to Eome in order to excite the 
Pope to aid him against the Emperor Alexius. Pope 
Pascal II., who adopted all the ambitious schemes of 
Gregory VII., and strove to establish the papal domin- 
ation over all Christian princes, approved of the pro- 
jects of the Norman. Bohemund then visited France, 
to collect troops for a crusade against the Byzantine 
empire. He was received with great honour. Philippe 
I. of France gave him his daughter Constance in mar- 
riage,^ and this alliance alarmed Alexius to such a 
degree that he forgot his imperial pride so far as to 
write letters to the republics of Pisa, Genoa, and 

^ Anna Comnenay 341. Zonaras, 303. 

' Conaianoe was a kind of widow. She had been separated from Hugh 
count of Champagne on the plea of relationship. 

A. D. 


BOOK III. Venice, refuting the injurious reports whicli Bolie- 
cnjuyi. jjj^jjj j^^ spread concerning his conduct, and declar- 
ing that it was a disgraceful calumny to call him an 
enemy of the Christians and a traitor to the Crusaders. 
As a proof of the calumnious nature of Bohemund's 
accusations, he immediately obtained the release of 
three hundred knights who were prisoners at Cairo.^ 

Alexius made every preparation to encounter this 
crusade against the Greeks. He formed a camp at 
Thessalonica in the autumn of 1105, and sent his 
nephew Alexius Komnenos to take the command at 
Dyrrachium, and put that important place in a good 
state of defence. Isaac Koutostephanos was also sent 
into the Adriatic with a powerful fleet assembled in 
the ports of the -^gean Sea. Bohemund was not ready 
to invade the empire until the autumn of 1107. In 
the mean time Koutostephanos made an attempt to 
surprise Brindisi, in which he failed. The Normans 
on this occasion captured a few of the mercenaries 
of Turkish race who served in the Byzantine armies. 
These prisoners may have been Patzinaks, Uzes, Ro- 
mans, or Turks of the colony at Achrida, and were 
probably Christians ; but their dress and arms were 
different fix)m anything in use throughout the west 
of Europe, so that Bohemimd presented them to the 
Pope as a convincing proof that the emperor of 
Constantinople was in close alliance with the ene- 
mies of Christianity. Bohemimd, with his usual skill, 
availed himself of an opportunity to cross the Adriatic 
when the Greek fleet had retired to Chimsera. He 
left the port of Bari with two hundred transports and 
thirty war-gaDeys, and arrived safely at Avlona on 
the 9th October 1107, where he landed his army. 
The cavalry alone amounted to five thousand.^ 

^ Anna Comnena, 846. 

* Twelve of Bohemund's ships were of a fine class of piratical vessels then 


This aamy resembled that with which William the a. d. 

Conqueror subdued England. It was composed of _J * 

experienced military adventurers, whom the hope of 
a richer conquest than that of England had assembled 
under the banner of the Prince of Tarentum and Anti- 
och. But, fortimately for the Byzantine empire, in- 
stead of fighting a battle immediately on its landing, 
it was compelled to pass the winter before the walls of 
Dyrrachium. The strength of that fortress, and the 
ample supplies with which it had been furnished, saved 
Alexius from the necessity of giving battle until it 
suited his convenience ; and he had every advantage 
in his favour.^ Bohemund was compelled to leave his 
warriors idle, while his engineers were preparing mov- 
able towers, tortoises, and battering-rams ; and in the 
mean time Alexius assembled his army at Thessalonica. 
The Byzantine court was the real cause of the ruin of 
the Eastern Empire ; its expenses were so great that 
every branch of the public service was paralysed to 
supply its demands whenever money was scarce in the 
treasury at Constantinople. That Csesars and sevasts 
might be maintained in becoming pomp, the emperors 
had long been in the habit of disbanding a consider- 
able part of the native troops at every cessation of 
active hostilities ; and when this happened, court in- 
fluence, not length of service, decided what ofl&cers 
and troops were to profit by the arrangement. The 
vanity of Alexius, the necessity he was under of con- 
ciliating several powerful aristocratic families, and the 
exigencies of his numerous relations, had always pre- 

in use, with two banks of oan. Th«fle occupied the centre ; and Bohemund 
stationed himself with them, ready to hasten to any quarter that might be 
assailed. His ordinary galleys had a hundred oars, and two men to each oar. 
— Ducange, Notes to Anna Comnena, 890. 

' Many of the cities of the Byzantine empire at this time were still embel- 
lished with classic monuments. Bohemund's camp was to the east of Dyrra- 
chium, opposite a gate adorned with an equestrian statue in bronze. — Anna Com- 
nena, 380. Other monuments of ancient art also remained in the city.— lb., 99. 



BOOK iiL vented his reducing the expenses of the court within 
CH^aj^i. p^g^g^j^g^i^jQ bounds ; and while the pomp and magnifi- 
cence of his court at Constantinople surpassed every 
other in Europe, we find him constantly commencing 
his military operations with new armies enrolled for 
the occasion. This circumstance is alone suflGicient to 
explain why his continual wars were productive of 
such trifling results. Alexius had considered it politic 
to form an aristocratic guard, consisting of two thou- 
sand chosen youths, who were trained with care to 
military exercises, and instructed in military science. 
Of these archontopuls, three hundred were sent forward, 
as soon as Bohemund landed, to secure the passes 
between Achrida and Dyrrachium.^ 

At the approach of spring, Bohemund began to push 
forward his works. His ships being useless in conse- 
quence of the superiority of the Byzantine fleet, he 
destroyed them, and employed the timber in the con- 
struction of his towers and military engines ; but the 
interruption of his communications with Italy soon 
proved disastrous to his army. The country round 
Dyrrachium had been laid waste in the preceding war, 
and was now either depopulated, or well protected by 
fortified towns and castles, in which the cultivators 
had secured their property. From these posts Byzan- 
tine troops watched the movements of every forager, 
and rendered it diflicult for the besieging army to 
obtain the smallest supplies of provisions. On the 
other hand, the magazines of Dyrrachium were abun- 
dantly furnished both with provisions and military 
stores, the garrison was numerous and in high spirits, 
the ramparts were well garnished with military engines, 
and the governor was active and popular. Bohemund 

^ Anna informs us that three hundred of these archontopuls were slain in 
an attack of the fortification of waggons of the PatziniLks in the campaign of 
1090, and considers the loss a serious one. — Anna Comnena, 204. 


assaulted the place in vain ; he advanced his towers and a. d. 
battering-rams, which were of extraordinary size, up to " ' 
the walls, and he worked mines under the foundations; 
but his assaults were repulsed, his towers and battering- 
rams were reduced to ashes, and his miners were suf- 
focated at their work.^ 

Alexius advanced as far as Deavolis, which com- 
mands the most important and easiest pass over the 
great range of mountains between Epirus and Mace- 
donia to the south of Achrida.^ Experience had con- 
vinced him that his mercenaries and militia were un- 
able to resist the Normans in the open field ; so he 
determined to remain in his camp, and direct a series 
of desultory operations for wearing out the strength 
of the invaders. His love of intrigue showed itself in 
a mean artifice he used to spread distrust in the camp 
of Bohemund. Letters, addressed by the emperor to 
several of the Norman leaders, in which he pretended 
to have received information concerning the plans of 
Bohemund, were sent in a way that they fell into that 
prince's hands. The artifice appears not to have 
deceived the crafty Norman, who was more inclined 
to suspect the perfdy of Alexius than of his compa- 
nions. He communicated the letters to his ofiicers, 
and left every one in the command of the positions 
they had previously occupied. If this anecdote of 
imperial policy had been communicated to us in some 
frank chronicle written by a prejudiced monk, we 
might have doubted its accuracy, and suspected the 
writer of having given a calumnious colouring to the 

' Tbe Byzantine miners used a preparation of resin and sulpbur, wbicb they, 
blew out of long pipes into tbe faces of tbe Franks, and thus expelled them 
from the mines. — Anna Comnena, 383. 

' Devol is tbe modem name of DeaToIis. It is situated on a river of the 
same name, wbicb falls into the Apsos five miles below Berat. The pass is 
now called the Bogbaz of Tzang6n. Achrida and Deavolis were the two cities 
which commanded the two roads leading from the Adriatic to Thessalonica. — 
Anna Comnena, 126, 386. 


BOOK 111. incident ; but the fact is attested by the beloved 
chjm 1. ^j^^gjj^^p Qf ti^e imperial diplomatist, and affords us a 
valuable portraiture of the moral obtuseness of the 
Byzantine court, for Anna Comnena never suspected 
that she was holding up her father's conduct to the 
contempt of every honourable man.^ 

The prudence of Alexius in his military proceedings 
soon placed Bohemund in great diJBGLCulties. The moun- 
tain passes were aU fortified with strong intrenchments. 
Avlona, Tericho, and Canina were occupied by Michael 
Kekavmenos ; Petroula by Alexander Kavasilas ; Divri 
by Leo Nikerites ; and the Kleisoura, or passes of Al- 
bania, by Eustathios Kam3rtzes. But the population 
of the country, which consisted in great part of Alba- 
nians, hardly viewed the Byzantine troops with more 
favour than the Norman ; and when Bohemund paid 
his guides well, he was enabled to plunder at times 
with considerable success. lfc\Tiile the war was thus 
prosecuted on shore with very little effect, the negli- 
gence of Koutostephanos and the Byzantine nobles on 
board the fleet, who ran into port when the sea became 
stormy, enabled the Italians to send a large convoy 
with provisions and reinforcements to Bohemund. At 
length, however, Mavrokatakalon having superseded 
Koutostephanos in the command of the fleet, and the 
Patzinak, Turkish, and Alain cavalry having posted 
themselves nearer and nearer to the Norman camp, 
Bohemund found his army reduced to a state of ab- 
solute famine, and made propositions of peace to the 
governor of Dyrrachium. These proposals were trans- 
mitted to the emperor, who still occupied his camp at 
Deavolis; and Alexius required that Bohemund should 
visit him in person to settle the terms of the treaty. 

Two princes less deserving of trust could hardly 
have engaged in a negotiation ; but after numerous 

^ Anna Comnena, 387. 


precautions and mutual guarantees, their interests in- a. d. 
duced them to come to terms, and peace was concluded ^ ^°'""^ ^' 
in the month of September 1108. Bohemund and his 
principal officers signed an act containing the obliga- 
tions imposed on them, while Alexius, in order to pre- 
serve all his imperial superiority, only ratified these 
conditions, and made the concessions required on his 
part in the form of a golden buU.^ By this treaty, 
the stipulations of the alliance between the Crusaders 
and Alexius concluded in 1107 were annulled, in as 
far as they were applicable to the relations between 
the emperor and the Prince of Antioch. Bohemund 
again declared himself the liegeman of Alexius, and of 
his son John Porphyrogenitus, and bound himself to 
make war against all the enemies of the emperor who 
were not invulnerable like the angels, nor endowed 
with bodies of iron. He engaged to hold his princi- 
pality in Asia as a fief of the Byzantine empire, and to 
surrender any place he might take in future which had 
in old time belonged to the Byzantine emperors. He 
bound himself to make war on Tancred in case he 
should not cease all hostility in Cilicia, and promised 
immediately to surrender the whole coast between the 
Cydnus and the Hermon, and the cities of Laodicea, 
Grabala, Valanea, Marathos, Tortosa, and Antarados in 
Syria, and to accept the investiture of the principality 
of Antioch from the emperor by a golden bull. The 
limits of his principality were defined as extending to 
Germanicia, with the exception of the country in the 
possession of the two Armenian brothers, Leo and 
Theodore, princes of the house of Reuben, who were 
subjects of the Byzantine empire. A pension of two 
hundred talents or pounds' weight of gold, in byzants 

^ Anna, p. 406, gives the act signed by Bohemund at full length ; but 
omits the golden bull, which echoed its contents in some degree. — ^Albert 
Aquenais, lib. z. 39. Bongars, Oesta Dei, 854, mentions this expedition of 


BOOK iiL of the coinage of the Emperor Michael, was granted to 
CHMi^i. Bohemund, who swore never to separate his interests 
from those of Alexius and his son John; but to observe 
all the stipulations of the treaty by the passion of our 
Saviour — by the Gospel which has subdued the world 
— ^by the crown of thorns — and by the nails and lance 
which pierced the body of the Redeemer.^ After this 
termination of all his ambitious schemes of conquest, 
the Norman prince hastened back to Italy, leaving his 
army to winter in Epirus, where Alexius promised to 
supply them with provisions. In the following spring 
many entered the Byzantine service, some proceeded 
to Jerusalem, and some returned to Italy. Bohemund, 
though compelled to remain quiet for some time, was 
collecting another army, either for the purpose of 
extending the limits of his principality of Antioch, or 
of seeking to avenge his defeat, when death put an end 
to his schemes in the month of February 1111. ^ 

The indefatigable energy of Alexius deserves the 
highest praise. As soon as he had put an end to the 
war with Bohemund, he turned all his attention to the 
affairs of Asia Minor; but in the conduct of the war, 
and in the policy of his civil administration, he allowed 
his ambition to blind his judgment. Instead of con- 
fining his operations to the country nearest to Cionstan- 
tinople, and to the ^gean Sea, he engaged in hostilities 
with Tancred and the Crusaders on the coast of Syria, 
leaving the Turks in undisturbed possession of the 
greater part of the intervening country, though the 
condition of the Seljouks at the time rendered it pro- 

^ This pension would amount to 14,400 byzants. The adulteration of the 
coinage by Alexius and Nicephorus III. rendered it necessary to exclude the 
money of these emperors from all payments, as a guarantee for receiving the 
full value. The usage was general in the East, and must have tended to lessen 
the reputation of Alexius. Compare William of Tyre, xi. 2; Bongars, 802. 

' This date is given in Falconis Beneventani Chronieon (Carusius, i. 808), for 
February 1110 is really 1111, the Normans commencing their year in March. 
William of Tjre (Bongars, 799) mentions that he employed ti^e summer of 
1 1 1 in collecting a new army. 


bable that a combined attack of the Franks and Greeks a. d. 

might have expelled them from the whole country be- _! ' 

tween Constantinople and Antioch. The brave Sultan 
Kilidy-Arslan perished in the year 1106. His sons 
Melek and Massoud succeeded to his dominions, and 
Melek, the eldest, ruled the western part of Asia Minor. 
But though a brave soldier, his administration was 
weak, and many of the Turkish provincial governors 
assumed an independent position, and were called 
Sultans.^ During the ten years that Melek reigned, 
the Seljouk dominions were a scene of intestine war, 
Alexius acted with no great energy against the Turks 
at this period, but during their civil war he succeeded 
in getting possession of the whole coast of Asia Minor 
from the Hellespont to Attalia. He repaired the walls 
of Adramyttium, which had been destroyed by Tzachas, 
and endeavoured to make it a flourishing commercial 
city, as it had formerly been, by repeopling it with the 
inhabitants of the surrounding country. This was 
perhaps not the most likely way to restore prosperity 
to Adramyttium, but the reparation of the fortifications 
excited the jealousy of the nomade Turks in the pro- 
vince, and they assembled a large force to attack the 
new colony. They were completely defeated in an 
engagement, and the Greeks captured their camp, with 
their wives and children. The inhuman cruelty with 
which the Christians treated their prisoners on this 
occasion roused the fury of the whole Turkish nation, 
and gave an energy to their military operations against 
the Byzantine territory which checked all the plans of 
the emperor for its improvement.^ Hassan, the emir 
of Cappadocia, invaded the empire at the head of 

^ Anna calls Melek, Klitziasthlan (Kilidy-Arslan, lus fother^s name), and also 
Saisan, aOreek corruption of ShahiShahan, or Shah of Shahs.— Ducange, Notes 
to Anna, 414, 460. 

' Anna owns that the Greeks amused themselves by throwing the children 
into boiling water.— P. 420. 


BOOK III. twenty-four thousand men, resolved to exact a bloody 
CB^n^i. ygj^g^jj^g £qj. ^Jj^ carnage at Adramyttium. The pru- 
dence of Philokales, the governor, who had rebuilt 
Adramyttium, and happened to be at Philadelphia on 
his way to assume the command of Attalia, saved the 
coast of western Asia from ruin. Hassan, not expect- 
ing to meet with any opposition in the field, formed 
his army into three divisions, in order to extend the 
sphere of his ravages. These divisions were directed 
against Sardis, Smyrna, and Pergamus; but the Byzan- 
tine troops under Philokales, issuing from Philadelphia, 
successively defeated the two first divisions, and com- 
pelled the third to abandon the attack on Pergamus, 
and save itself by a precipitate retreat. 

The progress of the Turkish war was interrupted by 
the hostilities Alexius carried on with Tancred, which 
involved the empire in a maritime warfare with the 
Genoese and Pisans, whose piratical expeditions against 
the islands and coasts of the Mgean proved ruinous to 
the commerce and trade of the Greeks. In the year 
1112, while the emperor was encamped in the Thracian 
Chersonesus preparing to send a fleet against the Latins, 
five Genoese galleys entered the Hellespont, and plun- 
dered the neighbourhood of Abydos. Four, it is true, 
were captured by the Byzantine fleet, but one escaped 
to encourage its countrymen to new acts of piracy.^ 

The imposing force Alexius had assembled in Asia 
Minor enabled him to conclude a temporary peace with 
Sultan Melek in the year 1112, yet, as the conditions 
of the treaty are not recorded by his daughter, it seems 
probable that no cession of territory was made.^ New 
armies of Turks arriving in Asia Minor from the fron- 
tiers of Persia, and Melek exercising no very exten- 
sive authority over the Seljouk chiefs, the sultanat of 

1 Anna Comnena, 480. ' Ibid., 482. 

TURKISH WAB, A.D. 1110-1116. 153 

Iconium was soon airain involved in hostilities with a. d. 

lAftl 1118 

the Byzantine empire. Bithynia, Mysia, the Troad, ^ ' 

and the coast of Paphlagonia were ravaged by the 
Seljouks in successive campaigns. Brusa, ApoUonias, 
and Cyzikos were taken and plundered, the governor of 
Nicsea was defeated and made prisoner, the inhabitants 
abandoned the cultivation of the open country, and 
either emigrated to Europe or clustered round castles 
in which they could quickly seek protection, or else 
formed their dwellings in places of diflficult access, 
where they could escape the search of invading armies. 
These places of refuge and concealment, called Kata- 
phygia, now began to assume a certain degree of poli- 
tical importance in the Byzantine government. The 
imperial troops often defeated the invaders, but new 
bands of Turks and Turkomans daily extended the field 
of their devastations.^ 

The last campaign of Alexius was in the year 1116. 
The Sultan of Iconium had assembled a large army, 
composed not only of his own troops and those of the 
emirs who acknowledged his authority, but also of an 
army of auxiliaries sent to his assistance by the Sultan 
of Aleppo. The Turks expected to carry their ravages 
as far as the shores of the Bosphorus, and to retake the 
cities which the Crusaders had compelled them to sur- 
render. Alexius determined to avert the danger by 
carrying the war into the heart of the dominions of 
Melek before his preparations were completed. After 
defeating a body of Turks on the banks of the Rhjna- 
dacus, near Lopadion, and clearing the neighbourhood 
of Nicsea from their nomadic hordes, the emperor 
advanced with his army by Dorylaeum to Santabaris. 
Here the army was divided into three columns. One, 
under Stjrpeiotes, was detached to the left, in order to 

^ Anna mentiona the Turkomans as a distinct tribe, 442. 


BOOK iiL attack the Turks who had assembled at Amorium, and, 
*' "' * falling in with the enemy at Poimanenon, it gained a 
complete victory. The second division, under Kam}rtzes, 
was sent forward to drive back a Turkish force sta- 
tioned at Polybotos. When this service had been per- 
formed, the main body of the army, under the com- 
mand of the emperor in person, advanced to Kedrea, 
on the road to Polybotos. Finding, however, that the 
sultan had carried off aU the provisions from the 
country through which he had proposed to advance, the 
emperor began to see the necessity of retiring. To 
pretend that his retreat was dictated by the command 
of Heaven, he performed a ceremony worthy of his 
superstition and hypocrisy. Writing on two papers 
the questions whether he should advance to attack 
Iconium or stop at Philomelion (Ak Sheher), he depo- 
sited his interrogatories on the altar of a church in 
which he passed the night in prayer. In the morning 
the priest entering took up one of the papers, and 
announced that the will of Heaven had fixed Philome- 
lion as the limit of the campaign. In the mean time 
all the Turkish hordes were hastening to the scene of 
warfare. A strong body advancing to join the Emir 
Monolykos, by crossing the bridge over the Sangarius 
at Zompi (Tchander?), was defeated by a Byzantine 
corps, under Bardas, in the plain of Amorium ; but to 
this corps Alexius was compelled to detach reinforce- 
ments, to enable it to preserve its advantage over the 
enemy. The emperor then advanced to Mesonacta, 
near the Lake of the Forty Martyrs, and continuing his 
advance, soon reached Philomelion, which he took at 
the first assault. After ravaging the possessions of the 
Turks^ and summoning the Christians who desired to 
escape fi:om their Kataphygia to retire under the escort 
of his army, he commenced his retreat in the most 
deliberate manner, arranging his order of march so as 


to aflford effectual protection to the immense number a. d. 

of Christian families and enormous quantity of spoil _J ' 

that accompanied his troops. The forces of Melek and 
Monolykos hung on his flanks and rear, and compelled 
him to fight a battle in the plain of Polybotos ; but 
they were defeated with loss, and Alexius continued 
his retreat to Ampous. The subsequent attacks of the 
Turks were equally unsuccessful, and at last the sultan 
sent proposals of peace to the emperor. A meeting 
between Alexius and Melek, who came attended by the 
old warrior Monolykos, took place between Augusto- 
polis and Acroinion, at which the terms of a treaty 
were arranged. What these terms were we are not 
informed ; but the emperor terminated his retreat with 
honour, bringing all the Christian colonists, with their 
families and property, safe into the Byzantine territory. 
Melek perished shortly after, the victim of assassination 
and fratricide. His brother Massoud, who was his 
murderer, succeeded him on the throne of Iconium.^ 

Violent attacks of gout, accompanied by increasing 
weakness, warned Alexius of his approaching end. 
Near the conclusion of his reign he gained great popu- 
larity by burning the Bogomilian heresiarch Basil, and 
by founding a splendid hospital and orphan asylum. 

The deathbed of Alexius affords a melancholy picture 
of the effects of his duplicity in the bosom of his own 
family. It seems hke a satire on his reign. His habi- 
tual distrust of all men had induced him to make his 
wife and his learned daughter his chief companions, 
and to employ them in aiding him to perform the 

1 Anna Comnena gives a long account of the operations of this campaign, 
p. 460-481. Zonaras says a few words, ii. 806. Monolykos is probably the 
corruption of some Turkish name ; but the Greeks caught at the word, for 
they say that if the first litter of a she-wolf consists of a single male cub, it 
will become a most powerful and redoubtable animal, carrying off more sheep 
than a dozen ordinary wolves. Men have often been proud of titles borrowed 
firom beasts — Richard Coeur- de-Lion, William tbe Lion, and the Tiger Earl, not 
to mention less renowned animals. 


BOOK III. routine duties of the imperial administration. The 
_ Empress Irene and the Princess Anna proved apt pupils 
in the school of political intrigue. They deluded them- 
selves into the belief that they understood the whole 
art of government, and proposed that Anna's husband, 
the Csesar Nicephorus Bryennios, should share the task 
of government with them. To eflfect this, Irene endea- 
voured to persuade Alexius to nominate the Caesar his 
successor, though his eldest son John had been invested 
with the imperial title for twenty-six years. The 
empress entertained an aversion for John, whose short 
and ugly figure showed to little advantage in the 
pageants of the court, while his love of truth and frank 
character appeared to her a proof of rudeness and 
stupidity. During the last illness of the emperor she 
frequently pressed him to declare Nicephorus his suc- 
cessor ; but Alexius, who was weU acquainted with his 
son's talents, listened patiently to her advice without 
following it. When the emperor's end approached, 
Irene took more daring measures to secure the realisa- 
tion of her wishes. The palace was filled with her 
creatures, and the Varangian guards on duty were 
gained over, and prepared to dispute the title of John 
to the throne. In the mean time John, who had watched 
aU his mother's intrigues, took prompt and decided 
measures for securing his succession, without bringing 
matters to an open rupture. While the empress was 
absent from his father's bedside, he entered his cham- 
ber and drew the imperial signet from his finger ; an 
act of which the dying emperor perfectly understood 
the import, and of which, consistent with his habitual 
dissimulation, he said nothing to the empress on her 
return. John immediately employed the signet to 
assume the direction of the public administration — ^the 
treasury, the army, and the fleet. He then hastened 
to the palace, where the Varangians for a time disputed 


his authority, and he had some difficulty in avoiding a a. d. 

. . 1081-1118 

collision between these foreign guards and the people ^ ' 

who supported him ; but at length he gained posses- 
sion of the great palace, which was the citadel of Con- 
stantinople. The empress, finding that all her schemes 
were thus rendered abortive, rushed to the apartment 
of her djdng husband and accused her son of treason, 
urging him to declare another successor ; but Alexius 
only raised his hands and eyes to heaven, to indicate 
that his concerns on earth were terminated, and that 
his thoughts were now directed to another world. The 
empress, interpreting the gesture according to the 
emperor's habitual system of duplicity, supposed the 
movement was made to avoid giving a direct answer, 
and as she gazed on the dying emperor exclaimed, 
" You die as you have lived, a hypocrite.''^ 

The Emperor Alexius died in the year 1118, aged 
seventy, having reigned thirty-seven years, four months 
and a-half.2 

^ The latter pages of Anna Comnena'a work are in a very imperfect state, 
Imt Zonaras and Nicetas give us a full account of his deathbed. Zonaras, ii. 
309, sums up his character more fayourably than Anna draws it, with all her 
flattery and filial veneration. Anna on one occasion allows her malice against 
her brother the Emperor John full scope ; but she calumniates him when she 
says that the successor of Alexius threw the afiairs of the empire into confu- 
sion — d^cXn/pui r&» dtadt^ttfUvwp tA o-K^irrpo. — P. 488. 

' See the last note of Ducange; Anna Comnena, 425; and Nicetas, 6. After 
the death of the Emperor Alexius, the Empress Irene retired into the monas- 
tery of the all-gracious Viigin, which she had rebuilt and endowed, where she 
became a nun under the name of Xenia. A copy of the Typicum, or rules of 
this monastery, prepared under the eye of the empress, and signed with her 
own hand in red ink, was published by the Benedictines Pouget, Ijoppin, and 
Montfkucon, in a volume entitled AncUeota Orceca : Paris, 1688, 4to. It con- 
tains some curious information. 


Ch. it. { 2. 

Charactsb of John II.— Coitsfiracies of Amna Coihtena and Isaac— 
PoucT OF Jobn'b reiok — Wabs with the Patzinau^ Seryiaks, akd 
HuNOABiAMS — With the Turks, Armenians of Ciuoia, and Latins 
OF Stria— Death of John IL 

John Comnenus was the most amiable character that 
ever occupied the Byzantine throne. He was stainless 
in his private conduct, frank, merciful, generous, pru- 
dent, active and brave, economical without avarice, 
and pious without superstition. Even the Latins bear 
testimony to his virtue,^ while the love of his own 
subjects is declared by the singular exception his 
government oflfers of exemption from rebellion and 
sedition. The only traitors during his reign, which 
lasted almost a quarter of a century, were members of 
his own family. The moral and political feelings of 
his sister and brother appear to have been corrupted 
by their father's duplicity and their mother's ambition. 

The position of John when he mounted the throne 
was one of some difficulty and danger. His virtues 
alarmed the courtiers, and were almost unknown to 
the people. He was consequently compelled to secure 
his authority by administrative arrangements and mili- 
tary power, and to do this without any effiision of 
blood was his first care. To avoid all chance of colli- 
sion with the members of the conspiracy organised by 
his mother, he never quitted the great palace until he 
was assured that all his commands for preserving order 

1 John Comnenus appears to have first received the nickname of Marro- 
joannes (black John) from his dark complexion (William of Tyre, zv. 23 ; 
Bongars, 885) ; but the love of bis subjects changed it into Kalojoannes, which, 
in the mouths of the people, meant John the Good, not Handsome John. 

The original writers concerning the reign of John II. are Cinnamus and 
Nicetas, who have left short summaries of its events. The principal object of 
both these historians was to write in detail the history of the periods in which 
they had borne a personal part, though Nicetas enters into the reign of Manuel 
at some length. 

• William of Tyre, xii. 5 ; xv. 23. Bongars, 819, 886. 



in the capital and its immediate vicinity had been a,d. 

•' ^ mo 1 1 

carried into execution. During this interval his father s 
funeral was celebrated ; and though he took care that 
the ceremony should be performed with imperial pomp, 
he did not venture to be present.^ 

The selfishness of his own relations, and the treachery 
of the Byzantine aristocracy, made a deep impression 
on his mind. Though they never destroyed his feel- 
ings of family aflfection, nor infused any tinge of 
melancholy into his equable disposition, they led him, 
at an early age, to seek elsewhere for a friend. A 
Turkish lad, remarkable for his personal grace and 
amiable disposition, fell into the hands of the Emperor 
Alexius at the capture of Nicsea, and was placed as a 
domestic slave and personal companion with his son 
John Porphyrogenitus, who was nearly of the same 
aga The two youths were educated together, and 
became sincerely attached to one another. In 
Axouchos John found the frank character and the 
love of truth which he sought in vain among his own 
relations and the Greek courtiers. Years ripened the 
youthful friendship into mutual respect. Axouchos 
showed himself a man of talent as well as of courage 
and virtue ; and John, seeing that the fidelity of all 
his father's ministers had been tampered with by his 
mother, made the Turkish slave his prime-minister. 
Axouchos proved himself worthy of the high post; but 
whatever may have been the amount of his virtues, 
the very circumstance that the people regarded the 
appointment of a slave to the rank of minister as a 
boon to humanity, must be taken as a proof of the 
oppressive conduct of the aristocracy, the corruption 
of the general administration, and the decay of wise 
institutions and right feelings in the people. 

* NicetoB, 6. 


BOOK iiL The government of John IL was disturbed by no 

Ch II i 1. • 

,1.1- internal troubles. Two conspiracies occurred during 
his reign; one headed by his literary sister Anna, 
and the other by his brother Isaac» but both proved 
abortive. The Princess Anna induced several members 
of the imperial family to join in a plot for placing the 
imperial crown on the head of her husband Nice- 
phorus Bryennios. For the success of her plan it was 
necessary that her brother should be murdered, or 
that his eyes should be put out ; and when her more 
humane husband testified some reluctance to proceed 
with the plot, the learned princess expressed her con- 
tempt for his feminine weakness, as she termed it, in 
very strong terms, contrasting it with what she consi- 
dered her own manly inhumanity. The conspiracy 
was revealed, and John thought it necessary to confis- 
cate his sister's wealth in order to check her future 
intrigues. He bestowed her palace, which was richly 
and luxuriously furnished, on Axouchos; but that 
minister, who thought more of performing the duties 
of his situation for the emperor's advantage than of 
enriching himself by the imperial favour, suggested 
that it would be more politic to restore the palace to 
Anna. John felt all the prudence as well as the jus- 
tice of his minister's advice, and replied, " I should, 
indeed, be unworthy to reign, if I could not forget my 
anger as readily as you forget your interest." Anna 
was reinstated in her palace. 

Isaac, the only surviving brother of the emperor, 
was always treated with the greatest kindness and the 
highest honour. But it would appear that his capacity 
and disposition prevented his being intrusted with as 
great a share of political power as he wished, and, dis- 
satisfied with his position, he fled to the court of the 
Sultan Massoud at Iconium, accompanied by his eldest 
son John. During this voluntary exile he led many 

POLICY OF John's reign. 161 

predatory incursions into the Byzantine empire, but at 
last, finding himself both poorer and more neglected 
at Iconium than he had been at Constantinople, he 
made his peace with his brother, and was reinstated in 
his former wealth and rank.^ The conduct of his son 
John, however, soon caused a new alienation of feeling 
between the brothers. John accompanied the emperor 
his uncle at the siege of Neocaesareia. An Italian 
knight, highly esteemed for his valour, happened to be 
dismounted, which the emperor observing, ordered his 
nephew to remount him on an Arabian horse he was 
riding, adding, " You have other excellent horses at 
hand.'" The pride of the young prince was hurt, and 
he turned to the Italian, saying, "Take some other 
horse, and try if you can make me quit my saddle 
with your lance." A look of the emperor, however, 
made him think it wise to dismount and surrender his 
horse. Shortly after he rode oflF, joined the Turks, 
with whom he had formerly lived, and embraced the 
Mohammedan religion. His father Isaac also appears 
to have engaged in some plots, concerning the details 
of which we have no information, but he was banished 
by his brother to Heracleia in Pontus towards the end 
of his reign.2 

The historical records of the reign of John II. are 
very imperfect, and relate only to his warlike enter- 
prises. Hence it has been supposed that he was either 

> NioetaB, 21. 

' Nioetas, 24 ; Cinsamus, 18. Isaac ComnenuB was the progenitor of the 
emperors of Trebizond. His son John, who became a Mohanunedan, is said by 
Nioetas, p. 7, to have married a daughter of Sultan Maasoud. Some writers 
have considered him as the progenitor of the Othoman sultan, but this is an 
idle foble. His brother Andronicus, the Emperor of Constantinople, was the 
ancestor of the Grand Komnenoi of Trebizond. — Ducange, Fam. Aug, Bye,, 
189. As far as the chronology of these events can be determined, it seems that 
Isaac and his son returned to Constantinople with the emperor in the year 
1188, that his son fled again to the Turks in 1139, and that the conspiracy of 
Isaac was planned in 1142, after the Emperor John had quitted his capital for 
the last time. — Compare Nicetas, 21, with Lebeau, xvi. 46 ; Wilken, JUrum ab 
Alexia, eta, 514. 


A. D. 



BOOK in. too strongly biassed in favour of military fame, or that 
^L!L. he considered success in war as the surest means of 
increasing the power and restoring the prosperity of 
the empire, overlooking the necessity of infusing new 
vigour into the social organisation of the motley popu- 
lation of the Byzantine provinces, and of reforming the 
gross abuses of the fiscal administration. There can 
be no doubt that the g^ieral opinion of the age viewed 
military success as the true preservative against all 
political evils, and the emperor's popularity with the 
inhabitants of Constantinople must have been consi- 
derably increased by the conviction that such was his 
opinion. The material prosperity of the people of 
Constantinople was closely identified with the aug- 
mentation of the imperial dominions, and only indi- 
rectly influenced by the general weUbeing of the rest 
of the empire. This identification of prejudices and 
interests between the inhabitants of the capital and 
the rulers of the state is one of the usual results of 
strict administrative centralisation, and its basis is 
generally laid by some sacrifice of the interests of the 
people in the provinces for the profit of the crowds 
congregated in the vicinity of the sovereign. Bome 
and Constantinople, by their public distributions of 
provisions and expensive public amusements, afford 
proofs of this fact quite as strong as any Eastern des- 
potism, and modem Europe offers something similar 
in the state of Paris. 

The superiority assumed by the Byzantine armies 
whenever John appeared in the field, proves that he 
was an able general as well as a brave soldier. His 
troops showed perfect confidence in his military skill, 
even whfen his operations proved unsuccessful ; and 
he used their services with that daring energy which 
marks the existence of the highest military qualities 
in a leader. His enterprises were at times foiled ; but 

POLICY OF John's reign. 163 

neither failure nor retreat ever produced discomfiture 
to his army. His opinions concerning the constitu- 
tion of the force under his command were those of a 
professional soldier, not of a patriotic general nor of a 
feudal monarch. The native militia of the Byzantine 
provinces, and the nobles of the empire, who were in 
the habit of returning to pass the winter, after each 
campaign, in their domestic quarters, were a force on 
which he placed no reliance ; to use his own phrase, 
he desired soldiers whose thoughts were concentrated 
in a military life, and who were ready at every season 
and for any enterprise he might command.^ This 
naturally led to a preference of mercenary troops, and 
his choicest army appears to have been composed of 
very few Byzantine subjects ; its principal divisions 
consisting of Macedonians, which doubtless means 
Sclavonians and Bulgarians, of Scythians, which sig- 
nifies Patzinaks and Romans, of Turks and veterans, 
or guards.^ His military policy was pursued with 
skill and energy ; the plan of each campaign was well 
conceived and ably executed ; he gained for himself 
great military renown, and he made the Byzantine 
armies a terror both to the Turks and Franks. But 
there appears to have been a want of political system 
in his Asiatic wars, and he seems to have expended 
too much of the military resources of his dominions 
on distant expeditions to Syria, and unnecessary at- 
tacks on Armenian Cilicia, from which no permanent 
advantage could be expected. It cannot be doubted 
that, even during his victorious reign, the social con- 
dition, and perhaps the numerical population, of the 
empire continued to decline ; and before a genera- 

^ Nicetas, 22. 

' Nioetas, 20. An anecdote of Alexius I. proves that Macedonian was equi- 
valent to Sdavonian, Bulgarian, or Bomething nationally inferior to the Roman 
or Qreek of Byzantium. When Alexius was pressed by his wife to declare 
Nicephorus Biyennioe his successor, he said, the world would laugh him to 
scorn if he made a Macedonian emperor of the Romans.— Nicetas, 5. 

A. D. 


BOOK m. tion had elapsed from the death of his son Manuel 
^ ^"'** ' L, the Byzantine empire was overthrown, and a 
Flemish count occupied the imperial throne. 

The private conduct of the Emperor John indicates 
that he viewed with regret the internal evils which 
weakened the moral and political energy of Greek 
society ; for we must now observe that the Byzantine 
empire had assumed a Greek character. Yet we have 
no reason to suppose that he adopted any measures 
to root out the administrative abuses or reform the 
social state of his dominions. The undertaking may 
have appeared to him one in which the power of 
government could effect very little ; and he may have 
thought that Divine Providence alone could bring about 
the revolution in men's thoughts and conduct necessaiy 
to produce any effectual improvement. Many persons 
even at the present day may be of the same opinion, 
and ask, with reference to our time, what Catholic 
emancipation, municipal and parliamentary reform, 
improved central administration, and free trade, could 
have effected towards improving the general condition 
of the inhabitants of the British empire, without an 
extensive emigration, and the accidental discovery of 
gold in California and Australia, events with which 
Government had certainly very little connection. But 
to these persons it may be replied, that unless the 
previous changes had placed the social and political 
condition of all British subjects on a harmonious scale, 
the subsequent events might have increased many evils 
which they have contributed to diminish. And thus 
it is not impossible, that if John had endeavoured to 
improve the administration of justice in the provinces, 
to relieve trade from monopolies, to secure the fruits 
of their labour to the agriculturists, and to diminish 
the burden of fiscal oppression on his people, his reign 
might have opened a new era of prosperity to the 

POLICY OF John's eeign. 165 

Greek nation. Perhaps, like Leo III., he might have a. d. 
ranked as a restorer of the Eastern Empire under a "^^"^ ^' 
Greek phase. 

There are so many points of similarity between the 
situation of the empire at the accession of Leo III. 
and at the accession of the family of Conmenus, that 
they must have made some impression on the mind of 
the Emperor John II., had history been then studied 
for political instruction. At both periods the Moham- 
medans had overrun Asia Minor and threatened Con- 
stantinople. In both cases they were driven back, and 
the empire gained time to reorganise its resources. In 
the first instance, however, the victory was gained by Leo 
and the Byzantine army; but in the second, the advan- 
tage was derived from the accidental passage of foreign 
Crusadera We have seen in the preceding volume 
with what political prudence Leo profited by his mili- 
tary successes. He boldly forsook the beaten track 
of Eoman conservatism, and created the Byzantine 
empire by reforming the whole circle of the imperial 
administration ; and by so doing he infused new life 
into Christian society. The inhabitants of the Eastern 
Empire, who appeared to be on the eve of extinction 
when he mounted the throne, increased rapidly in 
numbers and wealth before his reign was concluded ; 
while the scheme of policy he traced out for his suc- 
cessors, gave three centuries and a half of prosperity 
to the Byzantine empire. 

When Alexius Comnenus seized the throne, the 
Byzantine administration required to be once more 
reformed. New evils had again depopulated the 
empire and enfeebled the government. Everything 
was falling to decay. The systematic administration 
of the Roman empire, which had preserved the fabric 
of the imperial power in many periods of difficulty, 
was now swept away, and replaced by temporary 


BOOK III. expedients and arbitrary counsels. The emperor had 
^ ""'* *' become more despotic as his instruments of govem- 
• ment became weaker, and his officials more incapable. 
The expenses of the imperial court now absorbed the 
greater part of the revenues of the state ; and the 
army and navy were diminished and neglected, while 
princes, courtiers, and chamberlains were multiplied 
and honoured. The civil, financial, and judicial admi- 
nistration was treated as a field for enriching those 
favoured by the emperor and by the emperor's favourites. 
The Roman law, which for ages had formed the bul- 
wark of individual rights and the basis of public 
prosperity in the Eastern Empire, no longer protected 
the persons and the property of the people against the 
rapacity of the imperial officers. Ever since the death 
of BasU II., the public property of the state had been 
visibly going to ruin. Koads, bridges, aqueducts, ports, 
public warehouses, and city fortifications, arsenals, war- 
like machines, and ships, were everywhere becoming 
unserviceable. Even cisterns, weUs, farm-houses, plan- 
tations, and other signs of rural civilisation, were dis- 
appearing over extensive districts where they had once 
flourished. Colonies of nations in the rudest state of 
civilisation, like the Turks, Patzinaks, and Komans, 
to whom the cultivation of gardens, vineyards, olive- 
grounds, silk, and plants used in manufactures was 
unknown, were established on sites once occupied by 
populous cities. A little grain was raised in the 
enclosures of ruined gardens, while sheep pastured 
through abandoned vineyards, orchards, and olive- 
groves. It is evident that agricultural industry 
must have been sadly degraded, and the depopulation 
of the empire must have made great progress, before 
the Emperor Alexius could have found vacant lands 
in the rich plains about Thessalonica and Philippo- 
polis, for the colonies he planted at Moglena and 

POLICY OP John's reign. 167 

AleziopoliB.-^ In the period of anarchy which pre- a. d. 
ceded the reign of Leo III., the civilised inhabitants *|^^^^ 
of the Byzantine empire were driven into cities and 
walled towns ; and under such circumstances the 
Greek race must have diminished much more rapidly 
than the rude colonists who entered the country could 

We shall have occasion to remark that the policy of 
John, with reference to the agricultural population in 
Asia Minor was not very enlightened. With the 
shortsighted view of dimiuishing the revenues of the 
Sultan of Iconium, he ruined a flourishing class of 
Christian agriculturists, who mamtained some local 
independence by paying taxes to the Turks. These 
people were compelled by the emperor to abandon 
their farms, with all those improvements which the 
expenditure of capital for ages on their property had 
effected, in order to colonise some ruined site in the 
empire, where aU capital of a similar kind had been 
already annihilated There can be no doubt that such 
a colony would soon become extinct. 

It is not difficult, even at this distance of time, to 
point out the measures which ought to have been 
adopted in order to arrest the decline and depopulation 
of the empire ; but how far the adoption of these 
measures would have tended to improve the moral 
condition of the Greek nation must, of course, remain 
problematical ; and without a great improvement in 
the moral rectitude and political energy of the Greeks 
at this period, no exertions of the central administra- 
tion would have sufficed to save the Byzantine empire. 
The first task was to root out the all-pervading cor- 
ruption of court influence. Without this, there was no 
possibility of restoring the systematic and equitable 

^ Zonaras, il 299. Anna Comnena, 456. 


BOOK m. administration of justice. All the benefits which Ro- 
^"'"' man law had conferred on society for so many ages 
were now nullified by the despotic power of inferior 
officials ; and as long as the expenditure of the court 
absorbed the greater part of the public revenues, no 
effective system of administrative control could be 
framed to check the abuses of the agents of the court 
in the provinces. The secondary measures were, to 
sweep away all the monopolies and privileges which 
were ruining Greek commerce, and to reform the fiscal 
exactions which were annihilating all capital invested 
in agriculture. Had such measures of improvement 
been perseveringly pursued during the quarter of cen- 
tury that John reigned, the Byzantine empire might 
perhaps have escaped its impending ruin, and the 
Greek race its subsequent debasement. 

The Emperor John II. was engaged in constant 
wars ; but the inhabitants of the empire enjoyed dur- 
ing his reign a degree of internal security to which 
they had been long strangers. No armies of plunderers 
ravaged Thrace, Macedonia, Bitbynia, and Ionia ; and 
the Greeks especially were secured from all hostile 
attacks, and were afforded an opportunity of recovering 
their former conmiercial and manufacturing activity. 
The Patzinaks, the Hungarians, and the Servians, in- 
deed, ventured at different times to invade the north- 
western provinces of the empire ; but they were soon 
repulsed, and permanent peace was established. 

In the autumn of 1122, the Patzinaks, who had 
remained quiet ever since their defeat in 1091, crossed 
the Danube in great force, and spread over the country 
north of Mount Hsemus. The emperor established a 
camp at Beroea to cover the passes, and passed the 
winter with the army. At the approach of spring, the 
Patzinaks advanced to force the passes, but were com- 
pletely defeated. Even the barrier of waggons, which 


served as an intrenchment to their encampment, was a. d. 
broken through by the Varangian guard with their *|^^^*^ 
battle-axes. This victory terminated the war, and 
broke the force of the Patzinaks so completely, that it 
was long commemorated as a feast by the. Byzantine 
church. The most robust of the prisoners were 
draughted into the imperial army — some were sold as 
slaves for the profit of the victorious soldiers, and 
many were settled as colonists on waste lands in the 
European provinces, where their descendants were still 
dwelling at the time of the Latin conquest.^ 

A war with the Servians, who had invaded the em- 
pire, ended in their complete defeat, and the Servian 
prisoners were established as colonists on waste lands 
in the neighbourhood of Nicomedia.^ 

Hostilities broke out between the emperor and 
Stephen king of Hungary, in consequence of John, 
whose wife was a Hungarian princess, protecting Bela, 
who was regarded as the rightful heir to the Hungarian 
throne.^ Stephen took Belgrade, which he destroyed, 
and employed the materials to construct a new town 
called Zeugmin (Semlin) on the northern bank of the 
Save. The Hungarian army marched forward to 
Triaditza, and the emperor established his headquarters 
at Philippopolis, where, with a strong body of Italian 
heavy and Turkish light cavalry, he shut up the passes, 
and waited until he was informed that his flotiUa had 

^ Nicetas, 11. Ephnemius, 163. Cinnamus, 3. 

' Nicetaa, 12. Cixmamus, 6. 

' Stephen IL was the son of Coloman, who had put out the eyes of his 
brother Almus and nephew Bela to secure the throne to Stephen, for the 
brother in Hungary succeeded before the son. Coloman and Almus were sons 
of Qeisa I., the elder brother of Ladislas, the father of the Empress Irene, 
Johns wife. VArt de verifier U$ Data makes Irene (Pyrisks) daughter of 
Geisa I. But as Oe'isa died in 1077, and she was married during the reign of 
Coloman in 1 104, when John was sixteen years of age, it is impossible to place 
her birth earlier than 1088. Cinnamus says she was the daughter of Ladislas; 
but he errs in making Almus and Stephen also sons of Ladislas, p. 4. Bela, 
though blind, succeeded to the throne of Hungary on the death of Stephen. 
The series of Hungarian kings is — Geisa I., from 1075 to 1077 ; Ladislas, to 
1095; Coloman, to 1114; Stephen II., to 1131; Bela II., to 1141. 


BOOK iiL entered the Danube. He then cioflwd Mount H»mu8, 
ciijM t. ^^^ driving the Hungariaiu before him, effected a 
junction with fais flotilla^ and defeated a powerful 
Hungarian army near the fort of Chram. He estab- 
liahed a garrison in Branitzova, and returned to Con- 
stantinople. The Hungarians, taking the field during 
the winter, recaptured Branitzova, and the emperor was 
obliged again to place himself at the head of his aimy; 
but both parties, after some severe fighting, became 
convinced that nothing was to be gained by continuing 
the war, and peace was concluded, in which the Ser- 
vians, and perhaps the Venetians, were comprised, 
on terms favourable to the extension of Byzantine 

Previous to this time, the Venetian republic had 
generally been a firm ally of the Byzantine empire, 
and, to a certain degree, it was considered as owing 
homage to the Emperor of Constantinople. That con- 
nection was now dissolved, and those disputes com- 
menced which soon occupied a prominent place in the 
history of Eastern Europe. The establishment of the 
Crusaders in Palestine had opened a new field for the 
commercial enterprise of the Venetians, and in a great 
measure changed the direction of their maritime trade; 
while the frequent quarrels of the Greeks and Franks 
compelled the trading republics of Italy to attach 
themselves to one of the belligerent parties, in order to 
secure a preference in its ports. For a short time, 
habit kept the Venetians attached to the empire ; but 
they soon found that their interests were more closely 
connected with the Syrian trade than with that of 
Constantinople. They joined the kings of Jerusalem 
in extending their conquests, and obtained considerable 

^ Compare Cinnamus, 4, and Nicetas, 18. It ia very difficult to ascertain 
the chronology of these evente, but they seem to have occurred between 1124 
and 1127. 


establishments in all the maritime cities of the king- 
dom. From having been the customers and allies of 
the Greeks^ they became their rivals and enemies. The 
commercial fleets of the age acted too often like pirates; 
and it is not improbable that the Emperor John had 
good reason to complain of the aggressions of the 
Venetians. Hostilities commenced ; the Doge Domi- 
nico Michieli, one of the heroes of the republic, con- 
ducted a numerous fleet into the Archipelago, and 
plundered the islands of Bhodes and Chios, where he 
wintered. Next year he continued his depredations in 
Samos, Mitylene, Paros, and Andros. Modon was also 
taken and occupied by the Venetians, to serve them as 
a harbour of refuge on their voyages to and from Syria. 
The war which the emperor carried on in Dahnatia and 
Servia appears to have been connected with his hostili- 
ties against the Venetians, but the events are hardly 
noticed by any Byzantine writer. They were really 
insignificant in the history of the empire, though they 
appeared of vast importance to the republic of Venice. 
Peace was re-established by the emperor reinstating 
the Venetians in the enjoyment of all the commercial 
privileges they had enjoyed before the war broke out.^ 
The attention of the Emperor John was early 
directed to the affairs of Asia, but he employed the 
forces of the empire too often rather to extend the 
authority and increase the fame of his government 

^ Compare Cinnamus, 164; Nicetas, 13; Fulcher Camotenms, c. Hi. and 
Bongan, 431, with Dam, HisL de Venise, I 148. This war must have been 
ootomporary with the Hungarian; and the ezprefldon of Nioetas seems to 
indicate that the Venetians were included in the treaty of peace with the 
Hungarians and Servians. The epitaph of Dominico Michieli is given by 
Moresini, tlmpme a E»pedUione di Terra Santa, 78 : it was in the church of 
St GeoTgOi and the first two lines were— 

" Terror Greoorom jacet hie, et laus Venetorum 
Dominicus Biichael, quern timet Emmanuel/' && 

Anno Domini 1128. Now, as Manuel appears to have been bom in 1122, 
and ascended the throne in 1148, this epitaph must have been the production 
of a later time, when the exploits of the doge were vaguely magnified by 

A. D. 


BOOK III. than to consolidate the prosperity of his dominions. 

^"•* *' He left the power of the Turks almost unbroken, while 
he wasted the wealth and strength of the empire in 
harassing the Armenians of Cilicia and the Franks of 
Antiock Two of his early campaigns (a.d. 1120 and 
1121) were devoted to regaining possession of Lao- 
dicea and Sozopolis, and clearing the country between 
the Meander and Attalia from Turkish garrisons and 
encampments. After the termination of the Hunga- 
rian war, John again placed himself at the head of his 
army in Asia Minor. Three campaigns appear to have 
been successfully devoted to re-establishing the Byzan- 
tine authority on the southern coast of the Black Sea; 
yet^ even towards the end of his reign, an alliance 
between Mohammed the successor of Danishmend, on 
whom the Turks of Paphlagonia and Pontus were 
dependent, and Massoud the sultan of Iconium, forced 
the emperor to form a winter camp on the banks of 
the Khyndacus to protect Bithynia, a.d. 1139.^ 

Before this (a.d. 1137) the emperor reduced the 
Armenian principality of Gilicia to complete depen- 
dence on the government at Constantinople. His con- 
quest, however, was not eflfected without great exertions 
and considerable loss, while the hatred of the Greeks 
which it roused in the breasts of the warlike Armenian 
population of the Cilician mountains favoured the 
progress of the Turks. Leo, the sovereign of Armenian 
Cilicia, after carrying on war for some time with the 
Turks of Antioch, concluded peace with them, and 
endeavoured to gain possession of Seleucia, the frontier 
fortress of the Byzantine empire, and a city of consi- 
derable commercial importance. The Emperor John 
appeared in person, at the head of a powerftd army, to 
punish the Armenian prince, and compel his ally the 

* Cinnamus, 21; Nicetas, 22, 21. 


Prince of Antioch to do homage to the empire, accord- a. d. 
ing to the treaty with Bohemund Tarsus, Adana> and ^*^^[^'- 
Mopsuestia, were soon reduced by the operations of the 
Byzantine engineers; but Anabarza and Vahkah, where 
the natural strength of the position opposed great 
obstacles to an attack, were only taken by the perse- 
verance of the emperor after an obstinate resistance. 
After the loss of Vahkah, Leo and his family sought 
refuge and concealment in the fastnesses of Mount 
Taurus, but were captuTed and imprisoned at Con- 
stantinople. Leo died in captivity : on some suspicion 
of treason the emperor ordered the eyes of his son 
Reuben to be put out, and the Armenian prince died 
of the operation; but the other son of Leo, named 
Thoros, returned to Cilicia after the death of John, and 
re-established the power of the Armenians in Cilicia.^ 

After the reduction of *Cilicia the emperor compelled 
the Prince of Antioch to acknowledge the sovereignty 
of the Byzantine empire. The reigning prince was 
Raymond of Poitiers, who had married Constance the 
infant daughter of Bohemund II. Constance had been 
proposed by the people of Antioch to the Emperor 
John as a wife for his youngest son Manuel, but from 
some unknown cause he had refused the match. The 
people of Antioch, and indeed all the inhabitants of 
the Syrian cities, were extremely hostile to the admin- 
istrative and judicial authority assumed by the Byzan- 
tine clergy ; they were, consequently, warmly opposed 
to the emperor's pretensions to the sovereignty over 
Antioch. Raymond, however, knew that his forces 
were insufficient to oppose the army of John. When, 
therefore, he was summoned to do homage as a vassal, 
and prepare to receive the emperor, he solicited an 

^ Cinnamus, 8; Nioetas, iS; Lebeau, Hittoire du Bat-Empire, xri. 24, addi- 
tion by Broaaet. This war happened in the year 586 of the Armenian era, the 
fifteenth of Leo'e reign. — Cbamich, ii. 189. 


BOOK in. interview. At this meeting it was stipulated that 
oh^juji ^tiQch.ahould remain under the existing administra- 
tion, civil and ecclesiastical, but that Baymond was to 
hold the principality as a dependence of the Byzantine 
empire, and do homage to John as his sovereign. On 
the other hand, the emperor engaged to unite his arms 
with those of the Prince of Antioch and the Count of 
Edessa^ to drive the Turks out of Aleppo, Shizar, 
Hama, and Hems, the investiture of which he promised 
to confer on the Prince of Antioch.^ 

The following campaign (a.d. 1138) was carried on 
against the Turks in Syria, while the Seljouks of 
Iconium were left . unmolested in the rear of the 
Byzantine army. This appears to have been a very 
ill-judged enterprise. It added to the renown of the 
emperor and displayed the superiority of his army, 
but it conferred no advantage on his empire. Pi^ 
a strong fortress on a rock near the banks of the 
Euphrates, was taken, and given up to Joscelin, count 
of Edessa. But the emperor could make no impression 
on Aleppo, and he only extracted a large sum of 
money from Shizar. His two aUies, Baymond and 
Joscelin, gave him no assistance, and the manner in 
which they spent their time in feasting and gambling 
disgusted the emperor, who felt little anxiety to ex- 
tend their dominions. He saw that unless he could 
make Antioch his place of arms, and the headquarters 
of his army during the winter, there would be great 
difficulty in making any permanent conquests in 
Syria. He therefore proposed to Baymond to admit 
the Byzantine troops into Antioch. The proposition 
alarmed both the prince and the people ; and after the 
Emperor John had entered the place to treat of the 
arrangements which it would be necessary to make, a 

1 Cinnamus, 10; Nioetaa, 18; WUliam of Tyre, xiv. 24; Bongara, p. 86ft. 


popfular tumult arose, which compelled him to with- a. d. 
draw, and he retired with his army from Syria to wait ^ "^^^^ ^ 
for a more favourable opportunity. 

While he had been pursuing his schemes of ambi- 
tion in the south, the Turks had ravaged the country 
along the banks of the Sangarius. The emperor was 
occupied, during the summer of 1139, with an expedi- 
tion into Paphlagonia and Pontus, in which he ad- 
vanced as far as Neocsesareia. In this campaign his 
youngest son Manuel distinguished himself by his 
valour, and his nephew John fled to the Turks, as has 
been already mentioned. In winter the army was 
encamped on the banks of the Rhyndacus, to protect 
the rich plains of Bithynia. 

The emperor now prepared a powerful army, at the 
head of which he proposed to march to Jerusalem and 
re-establish the Byzantine supremacy in Syria. The 
Frank princes, the King of Jerusalem, the Pope, and 
the Latin clergy, all viewed his project with fear and 
jealousy, and were eager to thwart his operations. The 
year 1141 was occupied by military operations against 
the Sultan of Iconium, in order to secure the frontiers 
of the empire from all danger during the emperor's 
absence in Syria. One of the measures adopted by John 
during this campaign has been already blamed. 

On the frontiers of Lycaonia, nearly in a direct line 
between Attaliji and Iconium, there is a large fresh- 
water lake surrounded by mountains, called Pasgusa by 
Cinnamus. This lake, the Koralis of Strabo, is about 
twenty miles long and eight broad, and is distant 
upwards of forty miles from Iconium. Many islands 
are interspersed on its surface, which in the time of 
John II. were inhabited by a numerous Christian 
population, enjoying a considerable degree of muni- 
cipal liberty, and carrying on a flourishing trade with 
Iconium under the protection of the sultan. The 


BooKm. emperor now summoned these islanders to receive 
^ *' "' * ^ Byzantine garrisons; but as the islands were well forti- 
fied, and the people feared the fiscal rapacity of the 
imperial administration, and hated the ecclesiastical 
tyranny of the Greek church, they rejected the sum- 
mons, and prepared to resist the emperor. But though 
the lake and the island fortifications had proved an 
effectual defence against the Seljouk Turks, they could 
oppose only a weak barrier to the scientific attacks of 
John. Boats were soon constructed, battering-rams 
and storming-towers were floated on rafts close to the 
walls, and after a brave resistance the island for- 
tresses were taken and their inhabitants made prison- 
ers. Byzantine garrisons for a while retained posses- 
sion of these conquests, but when deprived of their 
industrious inhabitants the islands became useless^ and 
the shores of the lake were deserted.^ 

The emperor passed the winter near Anazarba, on 
the frontiers of Cilicia, holding his army ready to enter 
Syria and take possession of Antioch in spring. But 
while he was revolving his projects, and arranging 
everything necessary for his march to Jerusalem, an 
accident suddenly terminated his life. While he was 
hunting on Mount Taurus, it happened that he received 
the charge of a wild boar with his hunting-spear, and in 
his struggle with the wild beast a poisoned arrow from 
his own quiver wounded his hand. At first he paid no 
attention to the wound, and when his arm began to 
swell with the effect of the poison, he refused to sub- 
mit to amputation, which would then, perhaps, have 

1 Sirabo, lib. xii., o. t.; Cinnamus, 12; Nioetas, 25. The lake is still called 
Karali, from a town of the same name, which has evidently preseired the 
ancient name. Ita mote general appdlation, however, among the Turkei, 
is the lake of Beyshelier, which is a town of some importance at its south- 
eastern extremity. The aversion of these islanders to the Byzantine domina- 
tion reminds us of the conversation which the Greek refugee held with Priscus 
the ambassador of Theodosius II. to Attila.— .£rc. e Pruci HUtoria, 191, ed. 


proved unavailing. Without loss of time, lie made a. p. 
every arrangement necessary for the tranquil trans- ^ ^*^^^^ ' 
mission of the imperial power to his youngest son, 
Manuel, whom he selected for his successor on account 
of his superior talents. John II. expired tranquilly on 
the 8th of April 1143, after a reign of twenty-four 
years, seven months, and twenty-five days, at the age 
of fifty-five.^ 

SECT. III. — ^REIGN OF MANUEL I., A.D. 1143-1180. 

Chabactxb or ManttsL — Anecdotes of ms ooubt — CoirDinov of the 


—Thebeb abd Cobinth flundbbed— Decubb of Gbbbcb— Cobduct or 


tbb Sbbyiabb and Hunqabians— With the Vbnbtianb— Wabs in Abia 
— Mabbiaoe of Manuel with Mart of Antioch— Expedition to Egtft 
— Wab with the Seljouk Tubks — Defeat of Manuel at Mtbiokb- 


Manuel was not unworthy of his father's preference, 
but the possession of absolute power at an early age 
brings temptations which no man can resist. Per- 
haps if Manuel had enjoyed the advantage of passing 
a few additional years under his father's eye, he might 
in his maturer age have become a wise and great 
prince. He possessed courage, ability, and strength 
of character ; nor was he deficient in literary cultiva- 
tion, political sagacity, or theological knowledge ; but 
he ascended the throne of a corrupted empire before 
his passions were disciplined. We need not wonder, 
therefore, at finding that his vices developed them- 
selves so rapidly as to choke many of his virtues. 
Neither the institutions of Byzantine society nor the 
political organisation of the government enabled the 

^ NicetaSy 81. Cinnamna, 1 5, gives, erroneoiisly, twenty-five yean and seven 



BOOK in. higher and middling classes of the capital to acquire 
^ '•"•*^ the knowledge or the virtues necessary to invest them 
with the authority of public opinion, so that Manuel 
felt little moral restraint, and rarely considered it an 
imperative duty to make his conduct conformable to 
the dictates of his judgment by sacrificing his inclina- 
tions. A middle dass could hardly be said to exist 
any longer in the empire, and the Byzantine officials 
were corrupted by every vice.^ 

Manuel's authority as emperor was peaceably recog- 
nised at Constantinople in consequence of the energy 
and prudence of Axouchos, his father's friend and prime- 
minister, who hastened to the capital, and took aU the 
necessary precautions before the death of John II. was 
publicly known. The young emperor's elder brother, 
Isaac, was confined in a monastery and closely watched, 
while the intrigues of his brother-in-law, the Caesar 
Roger, were easily rendered abortive.^ The support of 
the clergy was purchased by a yearly pension equal to 
the value of two hundred pounds' weight of gold, and 
the goodwill of the Patriarch was secured by a further 
donation of one hundred pounds, which Manuel placed 
on the high altar of St Sophia's at the time of his coro- 
nation.^ The army was attached by promotions, boun- 
ties, and furloughs ; and the citizens of Constantinople 
were gained by the grant of a donative of two pieces 

1 Many laws of the ByBantine emperors might be cited to prove that, in the 
better dm of the empire, they endeavoured to prevent the extinction of the 
middle claases ; but while they were willing to hinder the large proprietors 
from devouring the small, they overlooked the hct that fisoal oppression 
reduced the small proprietor to tiie rank of a peasant, while it was preparing to 
swallow the great territorial lords. See Mortreuil, Histoire du Droit Bytantinf 
il 830, 336, 839. 

* Tlie Emperor John II. had four sons, but two died before their father. 
The Cesar Roger, husband of Maria, daughter of John IL, was a member of 
the fieimily of the Norman princes of Capua. Manuel pardoned Roger's treason- 
able intnguee for his sister's sake. Compare Anna Comnena, 556 ; Ducange, 
Notes to Cinnamus, 436 ; and see the genealogy of the family of Comnenus in 
Ducange, Fam, Byz, Aug., and in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman 

^ Cinnamus, 18. Nicetas, 84. Nioetas says the payment was made in silver 
coin, a proof that silver coin was so abundant that gold bore a premium. 


of ffold to every householder in the capital The cir- a. d. 

1 ld'-l.l IDA 

cumstances attending Manuel's accession compelled ' 

him to hasten in person to Constantinople, in order to 
receive the imperial crown in St Sophia's. Custom and 
popular prejudice rendered the immediate performance 
of this ceremony absolutely necessary to give a legal 
sanction to his occupation of the throne, for it often 
happens that, long after law and religion are neglected, 
forms and ceremonies exert despotic power over nations 
deaf to the voice of justice and truth. 

Manuel possessed both the personal advantages and 
mental qualities most admired by his contemporaries. 
He was tall, handsome, vigorous, and brave; skilled in 
all military exercises, and indefatigable as a sportsman 
and a soldier. But his headlong courage degenerated 
into rashness, and his personal skill made him seek the 
fame of a daring knight oftener than was prudent in 
an able general. His unlimited power and violent pas- 
sions rendered his wars as much a matter of amusement 
as his hunting parties, and induced him to engage in 
them with as little reference to their eflfects on the 
welfare of his subjects. The wealth of the empire was 
lavished on brilliant f6tes and tournaments, which were 
renowned through all Europe as the most magnificent 
spectacles of the kind that had ever been seen. But 
the dignity of the empire was forgotten in the em- 
peror's private society, and his love of pleasure was 
unrestrained by morality and religion. The Byzan- 
tine court, already familiar with every vice, was taught 
by him to tolerate even the crime of incest. 

Two anecdotes may be selected to give a picture of 
the state of society early in Manuel's reign. At one 
of the social meetings in which he indulged, the con- 
versation of his relations present turned on his own 
and his father's military exploits. His. nephew, John, 
the son of his deceased brother Andronicus, extolled 


BOOK in. the deeds of the Emperor John as superior to those of 
^ ""'^ Manuel, and the preference was admitted to be just 
by Manuel himself^ who loved his father, and respected 
his memory. But the emperor's brother Isaac and 
his cousin Andronicus engaged in a violent alterca- 
tion on the subject, in which something which Andro- 
nicus said offended Isaac to such a degree that he drew 
his sword, and made a blow at his cousin's head. The 
emperor, with his usual boldness and promptitude, 
warded off the blow with his arm, and John Ducas^ 
another cousin of the emperor's, assisted in parrying it 
with his hunting-whip. Manuel, however, received a 
woimd from his brother's sword, even through his gold- 
embroidered dress, of which he carried the mark to his 
grave. His cousin Andronicus showed little gratitude 
to the emperor in his future life. The circumstances 
of this affair made a deep impression on the mind of 
Manuel, to whom it revealed a degree of concealed ill- 
will and envy the existence of which he had not pre- 
viously suspected, and he is said ever after to have 
worn armour under his clothes.^ 

The other anecdote exhibits the court in a state of 
society so disgusting, that we should be unable to be- 
lieve the possibility of so much vice under the eye of 
a Christian clergy and an established church, unless we 
possessed convincing proofs of the fact. It shows us 
how far crime may proceed where the aristocracy have 
no feelings of moral responsibility, and where the church 
is the creature of a corrupted state. The amours of 
Andronicus with his cousin Eudocia were the object of 

' Cinnftinus, 73. Nioetas, 74, gives us another anecdote worthy of record. 
John KamateroB, the intendiuit of the post, was a favourite minister on account 
of his jovial qualities. Ho was the greatest wine-drinker of his time, but wine 
appeared to clear his intellects instead of confusing them. He delighted the 
emperor with singing^ music, and dancing, and he astonished the world by the 
quantity of raw beans he devoured. He gained a bet from the emperor by 
drinking the water contained in an immense porphyry vase at two draughts. 
He had a tall handsome figure and immense strength. 


much remark, as the coimection was considered inces- a. d. 
tuous among the Greeks. It was notorious, however, ^^^*^^ * 
that the emperor was carrying on an adulterous and 
incestuous intercourse with his niece Theodora, the sister 
of Eudocia. Andronicus, therefore, openly made a jest 
of his own and his sovereign's infamy, observing that 
water from the same fountain has the same taste. Tet 
while such was the state of the court, Manuel gave his 
imperial sanction to an ecclesiastical prohibition of the 
marriage of his subjects to the seventh degree of con- 

At this time the aristocracy of western Europe far 
surpassed the nobles of the Byzantine empire in all 
warlike accomplishments. The military spirit of the 
times of Nicephorus Phokas, John Zimiskes, and Basil 
the Bulgarian-slayer, had passed away. This degen- 
eracy of the Greeks induced the Emperor John II. to 
fill his ranks with Turkish mercenaries, and it now 
caused Manuel to adopt the habits and prejudices of 
Western chivalry, and in military affairs to show a 
strong preference in favour of the Franks.^ Both 
Manuel's wives were Latin princesses. His first was 
Bertha^ called by the Greeks Irene, who was daughter 
of the Count of Sulzbach, and sister of the wife of 
Conrad, emperor of Germany. His second was Maria, 
the daughter of Raymond and Constance of Antioch, 
and this marriage mingled the blood of Alexius and 
Bohemund in an unlucky alliance. His daughter 
Maria, after having been betrothed to Bela III. before 

1 Nicetas, 69. Mortreuil, Hittoire du Droit Byzantin, ill. 182. Compare iii. 
156, and the synodal decrees in Freherr's edition of the Jus Gneco-Bomanum, 
torn. i. 215, 217, 231. 

' Marvellous stories are told of the personal strength of Manuel. In tour- 
naments he used a heavier spear and ^ield than any Latin knight ; and Ray- 
mond piinoe of Antioch, who was called the Frank HercUles, was amazed at 
the weight of the emperor's armour. Cinnamus answers for the wonderful 
strength and activity of the emperor from personal observation, 72, 140. An 
Arabian author says that Raymond could tear a stirrup in two with his hands. 
— ^Vaubhmc, Ija France an Tempt da Croitadet, ii. 207. Michaud, Biblwtk, det 
Croitadea, iv. partie, 98. 


BOOK nL he became king of Hungary, promised to William the 
^'"'* ^ Good, king of Sicily, and asked in marriage by the 
Emperor Frederick Barbarossa for his son, Henry VL, 
was at a ripe age (years, however, not having in any 
way impaired her beauty) bestowed on Rayner, second 
son of William, marquess of Montferrat, who received 
the rank of Csesar at the marriage, which took place in 
1180.^ At the same time, the emperor's young son 
Alexius was married to Agnes^ the daughter of Louis 
VII., king of France. To this disposition of the emperor 
Manuel in favour of the Latins we may trace something 
of the hostile feeling which the Greek clergy showed 
to his government on more than one occasion, and there 
can be no doubt that it was fipom political and per- 
sonal reasons, not from religious preference, that 
Manuel endeavoured to eflfect a union with the papal 

To form a correct estimate of the position occupied 
by the Byzantine empire at this period in the inter- 
national system of the Christian states, we must bear 
in mind the superior intellectual cultivation of its rulers 

^ The PrinoesB Maria was thirty years old, and as stroDg as a man, according 
to Kioetas, iii. Rayner was a beardless youth of seventeen. The Western 
ohronides assert that Manuel made Rayner king of Theesalonica, but it is not 
mentioned by the Byzantine writers, and probably the title of Caesar was con- 
sidered as equivalent to that of king ; and the idea of Thessalonica having been 
granted as an appanage was adopted to legitimate the conquest of Boniface in 
1204, who was a younger brother of Rayner. See Robertus de Monte in 
Struve, Berum Oerman. Scrip.y iii 924. Buchon, Reehereka et McUSriaux pour 
servir d ittM Hittoire de la Domination Frangatse, &c, 64, and L*Art de 9^ri- 
Jier le$ Datu, y, 169, quarto edition, adopt the £act, which is nevertheless 
doubtfuL Nicetas, 183, blam^ Manuel's preference for the Western nations. 
Compare William of Tyre, zxii. 10 ; Bongars, 1023. 

' The Patriarch Kosmas of iEgina was deposed by a synod of bishops of the 
court party. He was accused of favouring Uie heretical opinions of his friend 
Niphon, a monk convicted of holding some of the doctrines of the Bogomi- 
lians. But the real ground of the deposition of Kosmas was his hostility to 
Manners views, and the suspicion the emperor entertained that he was intri- 
guing with his brother Isaac. The deposed iEginetan patriarch had very little 
Christian charity. He appears to have been an ecclesiastic worthy of Manuel's 
court, for when he heard his sentence, he heaped curses on the heads of his 
accusers, on the synod, and on the emperor ; and his frantic rage went so fiir 
that he implored Heaven the empress might never have a child. — Nicetas, 64. 
Kosmas was patriarch for only ten months, until February 1147. He is c^ed 
Kosmas Attious.— Cuper, J>e PatrianAit Conttan., 134. 


and its immense pecuniary resources. Though the a. d. 

Byzantine nobility were inferior to the Western barons ' 

in warlike accomplishments, they surpassed even the 
Latin clergy in intellectual culture. Even the Emperor 
Manuel, who rivalled the valour of Bichard Coeur-de- 
Lion in the field, was instructed in all the learning of 
his age. His knowledge of surgery enabled him to dress 
the broken arm of Balwin III., long of Jerusalem, and 
his theological studies enabled him to direct the deter- 
minations of the synods of the Byzantine church. After 
a long dispute with the Greek clergy, he succeeded in 
expimging an anathema against the God of Mahomet 
from the church catechism, and replacing it by an ana- 
thema against Mahomet and his doctrines t^ 

The relative superiority of the Byzantine empire -to 
the other Christian states was still very great, though 
the foundations of its prosperity and strength were 
already undermined. This superiority was also ren- 
dered more apparent in a political point of view, from 
the immense power conferred on the emperor by the 
centralisation of the whole governmental authority in 
his person, and by the arbitrary power he was thereby 
enabled to exercise over the fortunes of his subjects. 
But we shall see that the splendour of Manuel's reign 
was purchased by the expenditure of the capital as well 
as of the income of the empire, and the diminished re- 
sources of his dominions became apparent immediately 
after his death. The wasteful extravagance of his 
court and his tournaments, together with the expense 
of the large military establishments he maintained, kept 
his treasury so low that he was compelled to use both 
oppression and rapacity in order to fill it ; his financial 

* Nioetafl, 141 ; Lebeau, xri 246; Le Qaien, Oriefu Ckriiiianut, I 270. 
Manuel, l^e all monarchical theologians, not only persecuted those who differed 
from him, but required that all who ventured to examine his opinions should 
be excommunicated. — Zaehariiz HtMt. jurit Giveeo-Romani Delineatio, 65 ; Mor- 
treuil, iiL 169. Cinnamus, 110, says that he had seen Manuel bleed patients 
and dress wounds in tiie absence of a surgeon. 


BOOK u'l. administration was marked by injustice ; wealth was 
cjimms. g^^^ wherever he could lay his hands on it; the people 
were impoverished by monopolies, and individuals were 
enriched by privileges, so that the inhabitants of the 
provinces began to contemplate subjection to the Franks 
and the Mohammedans as an alternative by which they 
could escape spoliation.^ Unfortunately for the empire, 
the family of Comnenus was a fruitful stock, aind every 
member of the house required to be provided with an 
income suitable to their imperial rank ; so that if we 
glance our eye over the long catalogue of these Byzan- 
tine princes in the volume of Ducange, and estimate 
their cost to the state by the fact that, when prisoners, 
their ransom was generally rated at twenty thousand 
pieces of gold, there can be no doubt that an army of 
one hundred thousand men, with its officers and mate- 
rials of war, might have been maintained for the same 

But when we look beyond the corruption of the 
administration, the vices of the court, and the servility 
of the clergy, we perceive that a desire for improvement 
still existed in those classes who were free from the im- 
mediate circle of official influence. The degraded con- 
dition of society was felt, and some anxiety to escape 
its evils was manifested. The scanty records of the 
civil and ecclesiastical jurisprudence of the time,' and 
the pedantic remains of Byzantine literature, allow us 
to trace this spirit in the history of the law and of the 
church. Unfortunately for the Eastern Empire, the 
Greeks, in whom these feelings could alone have pro- 
duced some practicable political reform, sacrificed their 
nationality to the pride of calling themselves Bomans, 
and to the profit arising from appropriating to them- 
selves the innumerable offices in the public and in the 

* Nicctas, 182, 135. • FawilUe Syiantina, 169, &c. 


ecclesiastical administration. The Greeks never made a. d. 

any national opposition to the ruinous abuses of the 

imperial government. The only constitutional remedy 
on which all classes in the empire could ever agree, was 
to depose an emperor when his conduct became intol- 
erable. The officials, who shared in the plunder of the 
people, declared that no earthly power was entitled to 
circumscribe the imperial authority, and the people 
were unable to discover any practical guarantee for 
their natural rights. The consequence was, incapacity 
in the rulers and apathy in the subjects, so that the 
subjugation of the Byzantine empire by foreigners be- 
came at last an easy task. 

The Greeks were almost excluded from military ser- 
vice by fiscal regulations, for they were regarded by 
the emperors as more useful in their capacity of tax- 
payers than they were likely to become as soldiers ; 
yet their prosperity was neglected, their coimtry was 
left unprotected, and was ravaged by invaders, who 
destroyed their property, ruined their manufactures, 
and carried away their artisans to exercise their in- 
dustry in other lands. A national feeling at length 
arose among the provincial clergy in Greece, but it 
was prevented from producing any political effects 
favourable to popular liberty, by being diverted into 
a bigoted hatred against the Latins. 

We derive some valuable information concerning the 
condition of the Byzantine empire during the reign of 
Manuel from the travels of the Jewish rabbi, Benjamin 
of Tudela. Whether Benjamin visited in person all 
the countries he describes is a matter of no great im- 
portance, for he certainly records the observations of 
an eyewitness. The state of the Eastern Empire is 
sketched with as much clearness and precision as is 
generally displayed even by modem travellers. The 
wealth of Constantinople, the power and magnificence 


BOOK in, of the Emperor Manuel, tlie conunercial activity and 
""^ manufacturing industry of the Greeks, the riches and 
luxury of the Byzantine nobles, the unwarlike spirit of 
the people, the mercenary composition of the imperial 
armies, and the heterogeneous population of various 
races and indifferent states of civi]isation that peopled 
the provinces, from the Vallachians of Thessaly to the 
Armenians of Cilicia, are all pointed out by this observ- 
ing traveller, who, free both from the prejudices of the 
Latin monk and the antipathies of the Byzantine 
official, gives us a deeper insight into the composition 
of the empire than the eulogies of Greek historians, or 
the calumnies of Western chroniclers.^ 

The external policy of Manuel's reign was guided 
by a desire to gain renown ; the internal was solely 
directed by a determination to augment the receipts of 
the imperial treasury. But he was not insensible to the 
increasing power of the commercial republics of Italy, 
as we see by the treaties he concluded with the Pisans 
and the Genoese, and by his protection of the Amal- 
phitans, who had formed a colony at Constantinople 
when their city was taken by the Normans.^ Manuel's 
object was, by these alliances, to counterbalance the 
great influence the Venetians had acquired over the 
Byzantine finances by the immense privileges conceded 
to them by Alexius I., as a reward for their services in 

^ Compare the Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, translated by Asher, vol. L 
48-58, vol ii. 38-60, with the more critical notes of Tafel, TheBtalanica, 489. The 
immense wealth Benjamin speaks of as existing in Constantinople has induced 
many to call his authority in question. Marco Polo, however, in speaking of 
the city of Hangtcheou-fou, about a century later (a.d. 1273-1295), says its 
revenue amounted to 14,700,000 saiks, estimated at £7,350,000 sterling. In 
both cases the revenue of the capital appears to be given when the revenue of 
the empire is really meant. The resemblance of the financial system in the 
Byzantine and Chinese empires at this period is deserving of investigation, if 
any materials exist. — Travels of Marco Polo, ed. by H. Murray, 198. The 
Arabiao geographer, Edrisi, informs us that at this period the ibrabs brought 
considerable supplies of gold from Sofala. 

> The commerce of the Amalphitans with Constantinople was probably older 
than that of the Venetians. It is mentioned by Luitprand, a.d. 968. The 
colony is noticed by Nicetas, p. 355, *0<roi tK rfjs 'AftdXt^r ijOtaw tm^Bpa^ 

flOfOt P&fJMlKCng. 


the Norman war. Anna Comnena enumerates these a. d. 
concessions in a curious passage, which throws great ^ ^^^"^ ' 
light on the history of Byzantine commerce, and proves 
that her father's generosity must have inflicted a severe 
loss on the native merchants of the empire. A whole 
street of warehouses was given to the Venetians in the 
capital. The Amalphitan shopkeepers were compelled 
to pay them tribute. Their merchandise was exempt 
from custom duties, and they were permitted to trade 
over the whole extent of the empire as far as Constan- 
tinople and the entrance of the Black Sea, with some 
special privileges.^ It is difficult to fix the precise 
nature of the advantages which they acquired by this 
treaty over the native merchant ; but there is no doubt 
that it marks the commencement of a system of a com- 
mercial policy on the part of the Byzantine govern- 
ment to which we must attribute the ruin of Greek 
commerce in the Mediterranean, and the estrangement 
of the Greeks from the imperial administration. These 
concessions were also made the ground of many abuses 
on the part of the Venetians, who, because they paid 
little, endeavoured to pay nothing, and thus innumer- 
able disputes arose with the fiscal officers as well as 
with the native merchants. The mutual dissatis- 
faction arising from such discussions broke out into 
open hostilities during the reign of John II. ; and 

^ Anna, 161 ; Cinnamus, 164. Compare the documents given by Marin, 
Sioria Civile t PolUica del Commereio dd Venezianiy torn. iii. 282. Any patriotic 
Greek, who has pursued his studies with profit in the Athenian university, 
might render an important service both to the literature and commercial legis- 
lation of his country, by collecting and publishing all the Byzantine documents 
which exist relating to commerce. Many have only been preserved in Latin 
translations, and they would become more intelligible by being restored as far 
as possible to their original language. Historical as well as geographical notes 
would be necessary. Professors Tafel and Thomas are engaged in the publica- 
tion of those relating to Venetian commerce. — Tranta^iofu of tht Imperial 
Academy of Vienna, 1850 and 1851. 

The library of the university of Athens, however, will be of comparatively 
little value, any more than the collections of coins and antiquities, tmtil cata- 
logues are printed. More honour would be gained by arranging the stores of 
Greek and Byzantine' learning than by editing works devoted to Sanscrit lltera* 
ture, of which no individual in Greece has any knowledge. 


nooKUL Manuel, warned by his father's difficulties, endea- 
CMji^ voured to render the empire independent of the Vene- 
tians, by encouraging their commercial rivals to visit 
his dominions. 

In attempting to estimate the effect produced on 
the trade and manufactures of the inhabitants of the 
Byzantine empire by the privileges conceded to the 
Venetians, it is necessary to avoid drawing our infer- 
ences from the state of conmierce in modem times. 
The difficulties of transport both by sea and land con- 
fined commerce within a smaller sphere, and restricted 
it to fewer articles. Jews exacted fifty per cent inte- 
rest, barons gloried in plimdering merchants, and mer- 
chants often acted as pirates. To us it would seem 
that immunity firom import duties must have very 
soon thrown the whole trade of the empire into the 
hands of the Venetians. But we know that this was 
not the case, and we observe three circumstances which 
. exercised great influence in preventing the immunity 
from proving as injurious to the imperial treasury as 
it must have been to private traders. The first was 
the exclusion of aU foreign ships from the Black Sea.^ 
The second, the monopoly which the Byzantine govern- 
ment retained of the commerce in grain and all kinds 
of provisions, both as regarded importation and expor- 
tation.2 And the third was, that the rents of shops 
and warehouses formed no trifling portion of the impe- 

^ A special lioense from the emperor was necessary to enable any foreign 
vessel to enter the Black Sea, until after the taking of Constantinople by the 
Crusaders and Venetians. This appears from Manners treaiy with the Geno- 
ese, which interdicts all communication with Russia and Matica, and fix>m the 
omission of Cherson, Sinope, Amisus, and Trebizond in the list of cities with 
which Venice was permitted to trade. Compare Sauli, Colonia dc OaUUa, ii. 
192, and Tafers SymboicB erUiccB Geographiam Bytsandnam speetanta, published 
in the Transactions of the Academy of Munich, 1849. 

* On the subject of the monopoly of provisions, see the preceding volume, 
322, 336, and page 48 of the present volume. Albertus Aquensis (of Aiz), 
speaking of the nrst crusade, says — " Nam nullius praetor imperatoris meroes 
tarn in vino et oleo quam in frumento et hordeo omnique esca vendebatur in 
toto regno. Et ideo refi^ erarium assidua pecimia abundans nulla datione 
evacuari potest.'* — Lib. zi., c zvi Bongars, 203. 


rial revenues at Constantinople ; though it is not easy a. d. 
to say how the privileges granted to the Venetians "^^^^^ ' 
raised the value of this species of property.^ Other 
<5ircumstances probably contributed to modify the natu- 
ral effect of fiscal immunities, and to rendet them less 
oppressive to the general trade of the empire than is 
apparent from historical records. Still, there can be 
no doubt that the preference accorded by the Byzan- 
tine emperors to foreigners during the twelfth century 
was one of the principal causes of the decline of Greek 
commerce, which ought to be attributed rather to the 
direct effect of the fiscal measures of the house of 
Comnenus than to the increased commercial activity 
of the Italian republics caused by the Crusades. 

The Emperor Alexius I. had concluded a commercial 
treaty with Pisa towards the end of his reign.^ Manuel 
renewed this alliance, and he appears to have been the 
first of the Byzantine emperors who concluded a public 
treaty with Genoa.^ The pride of the emperors of the 
Romans, as the sovereigns of Constantinople were 
styled, induced them to treat the Italian republics as 
municipalities stiU dependent on the empire of the 
CsBsars, of which they had once formed a part ; and 
the rulers both of Pisa and Genoa yielded to this 
assumption of supremacy, and consented to appear as 
vassals and liegemen of the Byzantine emperors, in 
order to participate in the profits which they saw the 

^ Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, i. 53. 

' The treaties of Alexius I. and Manuel I. with Pisa are printed in Buchon's 
NouvelUs Reekerches hutoriques iur la PrineipavU Frangaite de JUorSe — Di- 
phme$. Pise, i. ii The dates in the originals appear to be incorrectly given, 
as the indicUon and the year of the Constantinopolitan era do not accord. 
Ducange, citing his authority in jinnalibui Berum Pi$an. UgheUiania, conjec- 
tures that the Pisans, being connected with the Venetians in the Byzantine 
empire, were expelled by Manuel, and restored in 1172. — Notce in Hist, J. 
Cinnamiy 487. Compare Marin, Commercio de* Venezianit iiL 162. 

' The documents relating to the Qenoese treaty are given by Sauli, Delia 
Colonta dei Genoven in Galata, ii. 181. The date is there also defective. It is 
not 1178, as Vincens, Hisioire de la lUvuhlique de Ginet, i. 220, supposes, but 
116.9, in which October of the third inaiction of the year 6678 of the Constan- 
tinopolitan era falls. The date of the treaty was third indiction vnrDOLXXVni. 


BOOK ni. Venetians gained by trading in their dominions. Seve- 
*'"'* ral commercial treaties with Pisa and Genoa, as well 
as with Venice, have been preserved. The obligations 
of the republics are embodied in the charter enumerat- 
ing the concessions granted by the emperor, and the 
document is called a chrysobulum, or golden bull, from 
the golden seal of the emperor attached to it as the 
certificate of its authenticity. 

In Manuel's treaties with the Genoese and Pisans, the 
republics bind themselves never to engage in hostilities 
against the empire ; but, on the contrary, all the subjects 
of the republics residing in the emperor's dominions 
become bound to assist him against all assailants : they 
engage to act with their own ships, or to serve on 
board the imperial fleet, for the usual pay granted to 
Latin mercenaries. They promise to offer no impedi- 
ment to the extension of the empire in Syria, reserving 
to themselves the factories and privileges they already 
possess in any place that may be conquered. They 
submit their civil and criminal affiairs to the jurisdic- 
tion of the Byzantine courts of justice, as was then the 
case with the Venetians and other foreigners in the 
empire. Acts of piracy and armed violence, unless the 
criminals were taien in the fact, were to be reported 
to the rulers of the republic whose subjects had com- 
mitted the crime, and the Byzantine authorities were 
not to render the innocent traders in the empire re- 
sponsible for the injuries inflicted by these brigands. 
The republicans engaged to observe all the stipulations 
in their treaties in defiance of ecclesiastical excom- 
munication, or the prohibition of any individual, 
crowned or not crowned. 

Manuel, in return, granted to the republicans the 
right of forming a factory, erecting a quay for landing 
their goods, and building a church ; and the Genoese 
received their grant in an agreeable position on the 


side of the port opposite Constantinople, where in after a. d. 

times their great colony of Galata was formed. The ^ ' 

emperor promised to send an aimual present of from 
four hundred to five hundred gold byzants, with two 
pieces of a rich brocade then manufactured only in the 
Byzantine empire, to the republican governments, and 
sixty byzants, with one piece of brocade, to their arch- 
bishops. These treaties fixed the duty levied on the 
goods imported or exported from Constantinople by 
the Italians at four per cent ; but in the other cities 
of the empire, the Pisans and Genoese were to pay the 
same duties as other Latin traders, excepting, of course, 
the privileged Venetians. These duties generally 
amounted to ten per cent. The republics were expressly 
excluded, by the Genoese treaty, from the Black Sea 
trade, except when they received a special license from 
the emperor. In case of shipwreck, the property of the 
foreigners was to be protected by the imperial authori- 
ties and respected by the people, and every assistance 
was to be granted to the unfortunate sufferers. This 
humane clause was not new in Byzantine commercial 
treaties, for it is contained in the earliest treaty con- 
cluded by Alexius I. with the Pisans.^ On the whole, 
the arrangements for the administration of justice in 
these treaties prove that the Byzantine empire still 
enjoyed a greater degree of order than the rest of 

The state of civilisation in the Eastern Empire, as 
we have had already occasion to observe, rendered the 
public finances the moving power of the government, 
as in the nations of modem Europe. This must always 
tend to the centralisation of political authority, for the 
highest branch of the executive will always endeavour 
to dispose of the revenues of the state according to its 

^ See the charter under the golden seal, given by Buchon, NouvdUt Re- 
cherdut hittoriquet tur la PrincipaiUf Fran^ite de MorH — JHpUmiet, 4. 


BOOK m. views of necessity. This centralising policy led Manuel 
^'"' to order all the money which the Greek commercial 
communities had hitherto devoted to maintaining local 
squadrons of galleys for the defence of the islands and 
coasts of the iEgean, to be remitted to the treasury at 
Constantinople. The ships were compelled to visit the 
imperial dockyard in the capital to undergo repairs, 
and to receive provisions and pay. A navy is a most 
expensive establishment ; kings, ministers, and people 
are all very apt to think that when it is not wanted at 
any particular time, the cost of its maintenance may 
be more profitably applied to other objects. Manud, 
after he had secured the funds of the Greeks for his 
own treasury, soon left their ships to rot, and the com- 
merce of Greece became exposed to the attacks of small 
squadrons of Italian pirates who previously would not 
have dared to plimder in the Archipelago. It may be 
thought by some that Manuel acted wisely in central- 
ising the naval administration of his empire ; but the 
great number, the small size, and the relative position 
of many of the Greek islands with regard to the pre- 
vailing winds, render the permanent establishment of 
naval stations at several points necessary to prevent 
piracy ; and unless local interests possess considerable 
influence in appropriating the funds required for this 
purpose, it is a duty which is always in danger of 
being neglected by the central admiiiistration. The 
monarchy established in Greece by the three protect- 
ing powers has annihilated the navy of Hydra, Spezia, 
and Psara, and piracy is at present only kept down by 
the steamers of the protecting powers. But no generad 
rule can be safely applied to a problem in practical 
administration. Manuel and Otho ruined the navy of 
Greece by their imwise measures of centralisation ; 
Pericles, by prudently centralising the maritime forces 
of the various states, increased the naval power of 


Athens^ and gave additional security to every Greek a. d. 
ship that navigated the sea.^ ' '^^"^ ^' 

The same fiscal views which induced Manuel to cen- 
tralise the naval administration when it was injurious 
to the interests of the empire, prompted him to act 
diametrically opposite with regard to the army. The 
Emperor John had added greatly to the efficiency of 
the Byzantine military force by improving and cen- 
tralising its administration, and he left Manuel an 
excellent army, which rendered the Eastern Empire 
the most powerful state in Europe. But Manuel, from 
motives of economy, abandoned his father's system. 
Instead of assembling aU the military forces of the 
empire annuaUy in camps, where they received pay, and 
were subjected to strict discipline, towards the end of 
his reign he distributed even the regular army in cities 
and provinces, where they were quartered far apart, in 
order that each district, by maintaining a certain nimi- 
ber of men, might relieve the treasury from the burden 
of their pay and subsistence while they were not on 
actual service. The money thus retained in the cen- 
tral treasury was spent in idle festivals at Constanti- 
nople, and the troops, dispersed and neglected, became 
careless of their military exercises, and lived in a state 
of relaxed discipline. Other abuses were quickly intro- 
duced ; resident yeomen, shopkeepers, and artisans 
were enrolled in the legions, with the connivance of the 
officers. The burden of maintaining the troops was in 

^ NicetaB, 88. As late as a.d. 1170, the city of Dyrracbimn sent ten ^leys, 
and tbe island of Eubeoa six, to the fleet which Manuel employed to invade 

In ancient Greece the smaller states of the confederation of Delos neglected 
their duties, while the Athenians for some years performed the ohligations 
they assumed, on centralising the naval administration, with honesty and 
eneigy ; but a popular government is as easily corrupted, by being intrusted 
with unlimited power, as an individual monarch. 

Professor Ross mentions, that among the other curious documents throwing 
light on the administration of the Byzantme empire, which he found in the 
monastery at Patmoe, he saw an imperial ordinance commanding the com- 
munity to fit out a fi^p of war.— iZtfu^R ou/ den Grieehiiehen Inseltif it 135. 



BOOK m. this way diminished, but the army was deteriorated, 
"'"'' In other districts, where the divisions were exposed to 
be called into action, or were more directly under cen- 
tral inspection, the effective force was kept up at its 
fiill complement, but the people were compelled to 
submit to every kind of extortion and tyranny. The 
tendency of absolute power being always to weaken the 
power of the law, and to increase the authority of the 
executive agents of the sovereign, soon manifested its 
effects in the rapid progress of administrative corrup- 
tion. The Byzantine garrisons in a few years became 
prototypes of the shopkeeping janissaries of the Otho- 
man empire, and bore no resemblance to the feudal 
militia of western Europe, which Manuel had proposed 
as the model of his reform. This change produced a 
rapid decline in the military strength of the Byzantine 
army, and accelerated the fall of the empire.^ 

For a considerable period the Byzantine emperors 
had been gradually increasing the proportion of foreign 
mercenaries in their service ; this practice Manuel car- 
ried farther than any of his predecessors. Besides the 
usual Varangian, Italian, and German guards, we find 
large corps of Patzinaks, Franks, and Turks enrolled in 
his armies, and oflScers of these nations occupying situa- 
tions of the highest rank.^ A change had taken place in 
the military tactics of the East, caused by the heavy 
armour and powerful horses which the Crusaders 
brought into the field, and by the greater personal 
strength and skill in warlike exercises of the Western 
troops^ who had no occupation from infancy but gym- 
nastic exercises and athletic amusements. The nobility 
of the feudal nations expended more money on arms 
and armour than on other luxuries ; and this becoming 

1 Nioetas, 136. 

' TaUkios and Axoucboe were Turks; Petraliphas and the Cfleaar Roger 
were Italians ; Alexis Gifard and Alexander of Couyeraan, Normans; — and all 
were distinguished Byzantine commanders. 


the general fashion, the Western troops were much better a. d. 
armed than the Byzantine soldiers. War became the "^^^^^ ' 
profession of the higher ranks, and the expense of mili- 
tary undertakings was greatly iucreased by the military 
classes being completely separated from the rest of 
society. The warlike disposition of Manuel led him to 
favour the military nobles of the West who took ser- 
vice at his court; while his confidence in Ins own 
power, and in the political superiority of his empire, 
deluded him with the hope of being able to quell the 
turbulence of the Franks, and set bounds to the ambi- 
tion and power of the popes.^ 

The wars of Manuel were sometimes forced on him 
by foreign powers, and sometimes commenced for tem- 
porary objects ; but he appears never to have formed 
any fixed idea of the permanent policy which ought to 
have determined the constant employment of all the 
military resources at his command, for the purpose of 
advancing the iuterest of his empire and giving secu- 
rity to his subjects. His military exploits may be con- 
sidered under three heads : — ^His wars with the Franks, 
whether in Asia or Europe ; his wars with the Hunga- 
rians and Servians ; and his wars with the Turks. 

His first operations were against the principality of 
Antioch. The death of John II. caused the dispersion 
of the fine army he had assembled for the conquest of 
Syria ; but Manuel sent a portion of that army, and a 
strong fleet, to attack the principality. One of the 
generals of the land forces was Prosuch, a Turkish 
officer in high favour with his father. Kaymond of 
Antioch was no longer the idle gambler he had shown 
himself in the camp of the Emperor John ; but though 
he was now distinguished by his courage and skill in 
arms, he was completely defeated, and the imperial 

^ Cinnamus, 127. 


BOOK 111/ army carried its ravages up to the very walls of An- 
ch^u^s. tiQ(»^ while the fleet laid waste the coast. Though the 
Byzantine troops retired, the losses of the campaign 
convinced Raymond that it would be impossible to 
defend Antioch, should Manuel take the field in per- 
son. He therefore hastened to Constantinople, as a 
suppliant, to sue for peace ; but Manuel, before admit- 
ting him to an audience, required that he should repair 
to the tomb of the Emperor John, and ask pardon for 
having violated his former promises. When the Her- 
cules of the Franks, as Raymond was called, had sub- 
mitted to this humiliation, he was admitted to the 
imperial presence, swore fealty to the Byzantine empire 
as Prince of Antioch, and became the vassal of the 
Emperor Manuel.^ The conquest of Edessa by the 
Mohammedans, which took place in the month of De- 
cember 1144, rendered the defence of Antioch by the 
Latins a doubtftd enterprise, unless they could secure 
the assistance of the Greeks.^ 

Manuel involved himself in a war with Roger, king 
of Sicily, which perhaps he might have avoided by more 
prudent conduct. An envoy he had sent to the Sici- 
lian court concluded a treaty, which Manuel thought 
fit to disavow with unsuitable violence : this gave the 
Sicilian king a pretext for commencing war, but the 
real cause of hostilities must be sought in the ambition 
of Roger and the hostile feelings of Manuel. Roger 
was one of the wealthiest princes of his time ; he had 
united under his sceptre both Sicily and all the Nor- 
man possessions in southern Italy ; his ambition was 
equal to his wealth and power, and he aspired at eclips- 
ing the glory of Robert Guiscard and Bohemund by 

^ CinDomus, 20. Kal XiCusv aiirov \oiir6p ciroi^crcrro. The Byzantine court 
was fully aware of the difieronce between simple h(»nage and liege homage. — 
Ducange, Glo$$arium Medics et Infima LatinitcUis — " Homagium." 

s This date is given in the Notice tur Ntr^h-Klai^Ui, AtUeur du Poime iU- 
giaque sur la Prise d'Edeste, by Saint- Martin, p. 5. 


some permanent conquests in the Byzantine empire, a. d. 
On the other hand, the renown of Roger excited the ^'^*^- 
envy of Manuel, who, proud of his army, and confident 
of his own valour and military skill, hoped to reconquer 
Sicily. His passion made him foiget that he was sur- 
xounded by numerous enemies, who would combine to 
prevent his employing all his forces against one adver- 
sary. Man:uel consequently acted imprudently in reveal- 
ing his hostile intentions; while Roger could direct 
all his forces against one point, and avail himself of 
Manuel's embarrassments. He commenced hostilities 
by inflicting a blow on the wealth and prosperity of 
Greece, from which it never recovered. 

At the commencement of the second crusade, when 
the attention of Manuel was anxiously directed to the 
movements of Louis VII. of France, and Conrad, em- 
peror of Germany, Roger, who had collected a powerful 
fleet at Brindisi, for the purpose either of attacking the 
Byzantine empire or transporting the Crusaders to 
Palestine, availed himself of an insurrection in Corfu 
to conclude a convention with the inhabitants, who 
admitted a garrison of one thousand Norman troops 
into their citadel. The Corfiotes complained with great 
reason of the intolerable weight of taxation to which 
they were subjected, of the utter neglect of their in- 
terests by the central government, which consumed 
their wealth, and of the great abuses which prevailed in 
the administration of justice ; but the remedy they 
adopted, by placing themselves under the rule of foreign 
masters, was not likely to alleviate these evils. The 
Sicilian admiral, after landing the Norman garrison at 
Corfu, sailed to Monemvasia, then one of the principal 
commercial cities in the East, hoping to gain possession 
of it without difficulty ; but the maritime population of 
this impregnable fortress gave him a warm reception, 
and easily repulsed his attack. After plundering the 


BOOK ra. coasts of Euboea and Attica, the Sicilian fleet returned 
CHjMji. ^ ^j^^ west, and laid waste Acamania and Etolia ; it 
then entered the gulf of Corinth, and debarked a body 
of troops at Crissa. This force marched through the 
country to Thebes, plundering every town and village 
on the way. Thebes offered no resistance, and was plun- 
dered in the most deliberate and barbarous manner. 
The inhabitants were numerous and wealthy. The soil 
of Boeotia is extremely productive, and numerous 
manufactures established in the city of Thebes gave 
additional value to the abundant produce of agricul- 
tural industry. A century had elapsed since the 
citizens of Thebes had gone out valiantly to fight the 
army of Sclavonian rebels in the reign of Michael IV. 
(the Paphlagonian), and that defeat had long been 
forgotten.^ But all military spirit was now dead, and 
the Thebans had so long lived without any fear of in- 
vasion that they had forgotten the use of arms. The 
Sicilians found them not only unprepared to offer any 
resistance, but so surprised that they had not even 
adopted any effectual measures to secure or conceal 
their movable property. The conquerors, secure against 
all danger of interruption, plundered Thebes at their 
leisure. Not only gold, silver, jewels, and church plate 
were carried off, but even the goods found in the ware- 
houses, and the rarest articles of furniture in private 
houses, were transported to the ships. Bales of silk 
and dyed leather were sent off to the fleet as deliber- 
ately as if they had been legally purchased in time of 
peace. When all ordinary means of collecting booty 
were exhausted, the citizens were compelled to take an 
oath on the Holy Scriptures that they had not con- 
cealed any portion of their property ; yet many of the 
wealthiest were dragged away captive, in order to profit 

^ See page 492 of the preceding volume. 


by their ransom ; and many of the most skilful work- a. d. 
men in the silk-manufactories, for which Thebes had ^ ^^^^^^ ' 
long been famous, were pressed on board the fleet to 
labour at the oar.^ 

From Boeotia the army passed to Corinth. Nice- 
phorus ILaluphes, the governor, retired into the Acro- 
Corinth, but the garrison appeared to his cowardly 
heart not strong enough to defend this impregnable 
fortress, and he surrendered it to George Antiochenus, 
the Sicilian admiral, on the first summons. On exa- 
mining the fortress of which he had thus unexpectedly 
gained possession, the admiral could not help exclaim- 
ing that he fought under the protection of Heaven, for 
if B^uphes had not been more timid than a virgin, 
Corinth should have repulsed every attack.^ Corinth 
was sacked as cruelly as Thebes ; men of rank, beau- 
tiful women, and skilful artisans, with their wives and 
families, were carried away into captivity. Even the 
relics of St Theodore were taken from the church in 
which they were preserved ; and it was not until the 

^ Nicetas, 65. Bexgamin of Tudela, who visited Thebes about twenty years 
later, or perhaps in 1161, speaks of it as then a large city, with two thousand 
Jewish inhabitants, who were the most eminent manu&cturers of silk and 
purple cloth in all Greece. — I. 47. The silks of Thebes continued to be cele- 
brated as of superior quality after this invasion. In 1195, Mo'ieddin sultan of 
Ancyra demanded forty pieces of Theban silk, meh <u wcu wov€nfor tKs em- 
perar^t u$e, with a sum of money, as the price of his alliance. — Nicetas, 297. 
It was not until the reign of John IIL (Vatatses), a-d. 1222-1255, that the 
decline of the silk-manu&cture among the Greeks caused the importation of 
Babylonian, Assyrian, and Italian sUk. A law was then passed to prohibit the 
wearing of foreign silk. — Nicephorus Gregoras, 25. Samit was a rich kind of 
silk made in the island of Samos, from which some derive the German word 
Sammet, velvet (?) — See Mona. P. Paris, the editor of La Chanson cTAfUiocKe, p. 
248; Faiblaux et Oontti, FabUt et Romans du XI K et XII 1*. siiele, ed. RenouanL 

' (George Antiochenus was High Admiral and noble of the first rank in Sicily. 
The deed by which King Roger conferred the title of ProtonobilLssimus on 
Christodoulos, the father of Geoi^ge, who is styled Amer, and was also High 
Admiral, is dated in 1139. Mont&ucon {Palceographia Qrcsoa, 408) gives a 
fao-simile of the original, which was, and probably is still, in the archives of 
the Royal Chapel at Palermo. There is a stone bridge of five arches near 
Palermo called Ponte del Ammiraglio^ which was built by George from the 
spoils of Greece. There are also some remains of a church at Palermo built 
by Geoige, called La Martorana. Two curious mosaics seem to indica<^ that 
Greek was the language in general use, or else that the workmen were exclu- 
sively Greeks. — Gaily Knighl^ The Normans in Sicily, 262. George was of the 
Greek church, and of Byzantine-Greek descent 


BOOK m. whole Sicilian fleet was laden with as much of the 
^ "' "' ' ^ ' wealth of Greece as it was capable of transporting that 
the admiral ordered it to sail. The Sicilians did not 
venture to retain possession of the impregnable cita- 
del of Corinth, as it would have been extremely diffi- 
cult for them to keep up their communications with 
the garrison. This invasion of Greece was conducted 
entirely as a plundering expedition, having for its 
object to inflict the greatest possible injury on the 
Byzantine empire, while it collected the largest possible 
quantity of booty for the Sicilian troops. Corfu was 
the only conquest of which Roger retained possession ; 
yet this passing invasion is the period from which the 
decline of Byzantine Greece is to be dated. 

The century and a*half which preceded this disaster 
had passed in uninterrupted tranquillity, and the Greek 
people had increased rapidly in numbers and wealth. 
The power of the Sclavonian population sank with the 
ruin of the kingdom of Achrida ; and the Sclavonians 
who now dwelt in Greece were peaceable cultivators of 
the soil, or graziers. The Greek population, on the 
other hand, was in possession of an extensive commerce 
and many flourishing manufactures. The ruin of this 
commerce and of these manufactures has been ascribed 
to the transference of the silk trade from Thebes and 
Corinth to Palermo, under the judicious protection it 
received from Roger ; but it would be more correct to 
say, that the injudicious and oppressive financial admi- 
nistration of the Byzantine emperors destroyed the 
commercial prosperity and manufacturing industry of 
the Greeks ; while the wise liberality and intelligent 
protection of the Norman kings extended the commerce 
and increased the industry of the Sicilians. 

When the Sicilian fleet returned to Palermo, Roger 
determined to employ all the silk-manufacturers in 
their original occupations. He consequently collected 


all their families together, and settled them at Palermo, a. d. 
supplying them with the means of exercising their in- " ^^^^" ^* 
dustry with profit to themselves, and inducing them to 
teach his own subjects to manufacture the richest 
brocades, and to rival the rarest productions of the 
East. Eoger, unlike most of the monarchs of his age, 
paid particular attention to improving the wealth of 
his dominions by increasing the prosperity of his sub- 
jects. During his reign the cultivation of the sugar-cane 
was introduced into Sicily. The conduct of Manuel 
was very different : when he concluded peace with Wil- 
liam, the son and successor of Roger, in 1158, he paid 
no attention to the commercial interests of his Greek 
subjects ; the silk-manufactures of Thebes and Corinth 
were not reclaimed and reinstated in their native seats ; 
they were left to exercise their industry for the profit 
of their new prince, while their old sovereign would 
have abandoned them to perish from want. Under 
such circumstances, it is not remarkable that the com- 
merce and the manufactures of Greece were transferred 
in the course of another century to Sicily and Italy.^ 

Though Manuel has been blamed with justice for 
his conduct to the Crusaders, it would be wrong to 

^ Ciimamus, 51, 68 ; Kicetaa, 49. References to the passages in the Western 
writeiB relating to this expedition are given by Ducange in his Notes to Cinna- 
nius, p. 446. The passage of Otho of Frisingen, in which special mention is 
made of the silk-weavers of Greece, is given by Canisius, BUdiotkfca Hist, Regni 
SieUia, ii 934 ; see also Muratori, fhrip. JRerum ItcUi.^ vi. 668. 

Muratori, in his AnncUi <f Italia, places this expedition to Greece in the year 
1146. It mnst be recollected, however, that the ambassadors of Roger ap- 
peared at the assembly held by Louis VII. at Etampes in Febmary 1147« 
offering to supply vessels and provision for the passage of the French army to 
Palestine. Their offers were rejected, as the Sicilian fleet was not siiffidenUy 
numerous to transport both the army and the immense train of pilgrims under its 
escort. Now a doubt may arise whether the expedition to Greece did not 
happen after this refusal, when it was known that Manuel was compelled to 
keep the greater part of the Byzantine army and fleet in the neighbourhood of 
Constantinople, to watch the movements of the Germans and French, and 
transport their armies over the Bosphorus. — Michaud, Hittwre des Croitadet, 


The anonymous chronicle of Mount Caasino {CatMm BUblioikeea HuL Sajni 
Sicilia, i..511) says that the treaty concluded between Manuel and William I. 
(the Bad) in 11(^8 was for the term of thirty years. 


BOOK iiL give credit to all the accusations of the Latin writers, 
"*"'* who frequently attribute to his conduct disasters which 
arose solely from the rashness and incapacity of the 
Franks. The Crusaders, ashamed of their defeats, 
indulged their national and ecclesiastical antipathies 
by attributing all their misfortunes to Manuel, forget- 
ting that every accusation brought against him could 
with equal truth be made against the Latin princes 
and nobles of Syria, in whose conduct the crimes 
assumed a blacker dye. The truth is, that all the 
Christian princes in the East, whether Greek, Latin, or 
Armenian, watched with fear and jealousy the con- 
duct of the great Western monarchs who took the cross. 
Princes were not then amenable to the tribunal of 
public opinion, and the powerful, consequently, gene- 
rally regarded it as a glorious exploit to seize every 
country of which they could hope to retain possession. 
When, therefore, the crusading monarchs were unable 
to conquer the Mohammedans, they were too apt to 
conquer the Christians. 

The second crusade commenced in 1147. Conrad 
IIL, emperor of Germany, was the first prince who 
marched eastward ; and he took the route through 
Hungary which had been followed by the first Cru- 
saders. His army was numerous and well furnished ; 
but it was embarrassed by an immense crowd of pil- 
grims, over whom the military chiefs could exercise 
very little control. It had, however, the advantage of 
being attended by a numerous body of workmen, to 
make roads and construct bridges; for the army feared 
nothing but delay. The agents of the Emperor Manuel, 
who were sent to count these troops as they crossed the 
Danube, reported that the number exceeded ninety thou- 
sand ; and if we may trust the report of contemporary 
chronicles, seventy thousand of these were horsemen. 
During their progress through the Eastern Empire, 


they were accompanied by a strong body of Byzantine a. d. 

troops, under the command of Prosuch, who advanced ' 

pandlel to their line of march, and endeavoured to 
restrain the plundering propensities of the pflgrims, 
who thought they were entitled to help themselves to 
everything they desired, as they had received ample 
absolutions for every crime they might commit. The 
precautions of Conrad and the prudence of Manuel 
were insufficient to preserve order. The Greek suttlers, 
accustomed to cheat and to be cheated by their own 
government, defrauded the German soldiers ; and the 
bands of robbers, whom the false piety of the Papal 
Church had allowed to take the cross, plundered the 
open country as a hostile district.^ The Bulgarians 
and Greeks took up arms to revenge themselves. A 
relation of Conrad, falling sick, rested in a monastery 
at Adrianople, where some Byzantine soldiers mur- 
dered him, and plundered his eflFects. The news 
reached the German emperor when he was already 
two days^ march beyond Adrianople ; but he immedi- 
ately sent back his nephew, the celebrated Frederic 
Barbarossa, to punish this act of treachery. Frederic, 
naturally more violent than his uncle, set fire to the 
monastery, and attacked the Byzantine troops in the 
vicinity ; but after some slaughter, Prosuch succeeded 
in appeasing his anger and preventing a battle. 

The Emperors Manuel and Conrad had married 
sisters ; but pride and etiquette prevented their meet- 
ing, and they became engaged in disputes which pro- 
duced various acts of hostility between their armies. 
The Germans destroyed many of the splendid villas 
round Constantinople, and thereby ruined one of the 
greatest ornaments of that capital.^ But as Conrad 

1 Micbaud, HUtoire des CroUadet, ii. 132. 

s Ciimamufl, 42, gives the contents of a correspondence between the two 
emperors. The letters are filled with insults, and reflect no credit on either 
party. See also Michaud, Bibliog. da Croiaadez, vii. 168. 


BOOK III. wag eager to pursue his route before Louis VIL of 
^—L France could witness the disorder which already b^an 
to manifest itself in his army, and as Manuel was 
anxious to transport one army into Asia before the 
other reached the Bosphorus, the two emperors ar- 
ranged their quarrels, and the Byzantine navy trans- 
ported the Germans into Asia. Manuel also supplied 
Conrad with guides for his march to Antioch ; and to 
his treachery in furnishing guides instructed to mislead 
the army, the Crusaders attributed all their subsequent 
misfortunes, forgetting that the road from Constanti- 
nople to Antioch was quite as well known as that from 
Vienna to Constantinople, and that the real cause of 
their disasters was to be found in their own rashness, 
and in the natural difficulty of finding provisions for a 
large army, whose flanks were infested with brigands 
in the guise of pilgrims, whom the Emperor Conrad 
could not venture to hang, as they were the chosen 
sheep of the Pope. Conrad had unfortunately selected 
the summer as the season for marching through the 
arid plains of Phrygia. It is not surprising, therefore, 
that the men died of fever, and the horses from want 
of forage. But it cannot be denied that the envious 
and malignant policy which marked the proceedings 
of the Byzantine court in its communications with 
western Europe did much to increase the imavoidable 
difficulties of the Crusaders. It was undoubtedly a 
measure of prudence to exclude them from all walled 
towns ; but it was an act of the basest infamy to mix 
chalk with the flour that was sold to them, and to coin 
false money to defraud them when they exchanged 
their gold and silver. Yet Nicetas tells us that Manuel 
was guilty of these meannesses.^ The Turkish cavalry 

^ Nicetas, 45. The Crusaders, howeyer, appear to have been in the habit of 
cheating one another with false weights during the first crusade.— Albertus 
Aquensisy iii. 57; Bongars, p. 234. The children who embarked at Maraeillea 
in seven vessels, under the care of Hugh Ferrier, and William called the Hog, 


attacked the German anny when it was weakened by a. d. 
disease^ and Conrad, with the portion of his cavalry ^ ^^^'^^ ' 
still capable of service, was compelled to retreat. After 
meeting Louis YII. at NicsBa^ he again advanced with 
the French monarch as far as Ephesns ; but sickness 
compelled him to return to Constantinople, where 
Manuel gave him the kindest welcome as soon as he 
had ceased to be an object of fear.^ 

Louis conducted his march with more prudence than 
Conrad. He possessed more control over his troops, 
and he was not attended by so many idle followers 
and disorderly brigands. But Louis found even the 
European provinces of the Byzantine empire on his 
line of march so hostile, that he had to force his way 
through the country up to the walls of Constantinople. 
Manuel received Louis with demonstrations of friend- 
ship; but while the French army was encamped before 
Constantinople, it became known that the Byzantine 
emperor had concluded a truce with the Sultan of 
Iconium. A council was held in the French camp, 
and the Bishop of Langres proposed that the Crusaders 
should commence their military operations for the 
deliverance of Christ's sepulchre by conquering the 
heretics of Constantinople. He employed all his elo- 
quence to incite his countrymen to attack the Greeks ; 
but the French nobles declared that they had taken 
the cross to fight with infidels and defend Jerusalem, 
not to destroy Christian cities or punish heretics.^ 
The King of France was so anxious to preserve ami- 
cable relations with the Byzantine government, and so 
eager to march forward, that he permitted his barons 

were znnny of them sold by their guides as slaves to the Mussulmans at Bugia, 
AJ>. 1218. Matthew Paris. Vincent de Beauvais, txjl, c. fi. Alberio de Trois- 
foutaines, 459. 

^ The letter of Conrad is a better authority than prejudiced historians. 
VeUrum Seriptorum et Mon. Hut, amplitiima ColUeUo, cura Martenne et 
Durand, ii. 252. Michaud, Biblioth. de$ CraiModet, vi. 235. 

> Odo de Diogilo. Michaud, Bitioirt da Croitadfs, ii. 151. 


BOOK ra. to do homage to Manuel, in order to remove all jeal- 
""llL^ ousy on the part of that emperor, and gave him the 
fullest assurance of the good faith of the French army. 
Louis also enforced the strictest discipline possible in 
his age, and punished any soldiers who committed acts 
of brigandage with as much cruelty as they had ex- 
ercised in their depredations; some had their hands 
and feet cut off. 

In Asia the French army kept nearer the coast than 
the Germans, which enabled them to proceed farther 
in the Byzantine territory. But when they entered 
the Turk^h dominions they soon began to suffer the 
same evils as their predecessors, and only a small part 
gained AttaHa in an efficient state. With these troops 
Louis embarked for Antioch, leaving upwards of seven 
thousand men behind. These soldiers, abandoned by 
their leaders and ill-treated by the inhabitants of the 
country, perished in attempting to force their way to 
Syria by land. At Antioch, Louis found the Frank 
princes of Syria no better disposed to favour his expe- 
dition than he had found the Greek emperor at Con- 
stantinople. Every intrigue was employed to delay 
his march to Jerusalem ; and when at last Conrad 
returned, and he and Louis united their forces with 
the troops of Baldwin IIL, king of Jerusalem, and laid 
siege to Damascus, the enterprise failed in consequence 
of the jealousy or treachery of the Syrian barons, the 
templars, and the Prince of AntiocL But in western 
Europe every failure, whether it was caused by the 
folly of the Crusaders, the perfidy of the Latin Chris- 
tians in Syria^ or the jealousy of tibe Byzantine govern- 
ment, equally tended to increase the outcry against the 
treachery of the Greeks.^ 

1 The difiasters which befell the brilliant armies of Conrad and Louis were 
BO unexpected tiiat men's minds were stricken with despair. Three thousand 
Crusaders embraced Mohammedanism at one time, and St Bernard himself 
exclaimed, that the man who could see such judgments without scandal might 
truly be called happy. 

SIEGE OF CORFU, A.D. 1149. 207 

The destruction of the crusading armies left Manuel a. d. 

O _ IlilQIIf 

at liberty to turn aU his attention to Corfu ; but the 
Patzinaks having availed themselves of the opportunity 
afforded by the passage of the Crusaders to plunder in 
Bulgaria, it was first necessary to clear the country of 
this enemy. The whole summer of 1 148 was employed 
in this task. In the following year the Byzantine 
forces invested Corfu by sea and land. The position 
of the citadel is extremely strong, occupjHbg the base 
of a bold rocky promontory which rises abruptly out 
of the sea with a double head. The city itself was 
strongly fortified by art as well as by its natural posi- 
tion. When the emperor had assembled aU his forces 
before the place, he ordered a general assault under 
the cover of showers of missiles from all the military 
machines then in use, which were planted in his ships 
and along the shore so as to enfilade the points which 
were assailed ; but the advantage of their position 
enabled the Sicilian garrison to repulse the attack, 
and the Grand-duke Koutostephanos, who commanded 
the fleet, was slain as he encouraged his men to plant 
a ladder against the walls. In spite of this defeat 
Manuel continued to press on his attacks at a consider- 
able sacrifice of men without gaining any advantage, 
until an unexpected circumstance had nearly rendered 
him master of the citadel. It was observed that a 
guUy in the rock would admit the assailants into the 
body of the place, if they could gain possession of a 
single waU that covered it towards the sea. A lofty 
tower was constructed on the hulls of several trans- 
ports, which were bound firmly together, and on this 
tower a ladder was fixed which reached the ramparts. 
Pupakes, a Turkish ofl&cer of the guard of Axouchos, 
and four brothers of Frank descent named Petraliphas, 
led a body of four hundred chosen troops to the 
assault. Pupakes mounted the ladder and reached the 



BOOK 111. rampart with a few followers; but while the rest of the 
CH^jun, {Qjf[QYa hope were moanting, the ladder broke with 
their weight, and many were precipitated into the 
sea- or dashed to pieces on the rocks of the citadel. 
Pupakes, and those who had gained a firm footing, 
cleared for themselves a space on the wall ; but when 
they saw there was no hope of receiving further aid, 
they availed themselves of the confusion into which 
they had thrown the garrison, and with singular auda- 
city and presence of mind they descended from the ram- 
parts and escaped by a wicket to the Byzantine army. 
Manuel, imdismayed by this failure, continued to 
direct his attacks against the place with great courage, 
but with a degree of impatience which often proves 
injurious to the militarjr operations of sovereigns 
who command their own armies. At length a quarrel 
occurred between the Byzantine troops and the Vene- 
tian marines, in the large naval force which the repub- 
lic had sent to act against the Normans in conjunction 
with the emperor. The tumult threatened to become 
a general engagement, when Axouchos, unable to 
appease the combatants, determined at least to sepa^ 
rate them. By ordering his guards to charge the 
Venetians, he forced them to retire to their ships. 
The republicans, furious at their discomfiture, imme- 
diately weighed anchor and sailed to attack a division 
of the Greek fleet which was stationed in the channel 
between Cephallenia and Ithaca, to prevent the Sici- 
lians firom throwing supplies into Corfu on that side. 
The Venetians burned several of the Greek ships and 
captured the emperor's own galley, in which they 
placed a negro clad in the imperial robes with a 
crown on his head ; and having seated him on a 
throne placed under a canopy, they paraded before 
the Byzantine camp at Corfu, saluting their black 
pageant of an emperor with aU the multifarious and 

SIEGE OF CORFU, A.D. 1149. 209 

servile prostrations practised at the Constantinopolitan a. d. 
court. The Emperor Manuel, however, had the good "^^^^^ ^' 
sense to smile at this buffoonery, in which his dark 
complexion was ridiculed; and by his prudence he suc- 
ceeded in bringing the Venetians back to their duty. 
A fleet sent by Roger to relieve Corfu was defeated, 
and the garrison, being cut off from all hope of suc- 
cour, at length capitulated. The Norman and Sicilian 
troops were allowed to retire with their arms; but 
Theodore Capellan, their commander, fearing to en- 
counter the indignation of Roger, or satisfied that his 
courage and military skill would be better appreciated 
by Manuel, entered the Byzantine service.^ 

The emperor resolved to make the recovery of Corfu 
a step to the invasion of Sicily. A division of the 
Byzantine fleet ravaged the coast of Sicily,^ and 
Manuel twice attempted to invade the island, but 
was driven back to Avlona by storms; and the 
damage his ships sustained compelled him to aban- 
don the undertaking for the time, nor did future 
wars ever allow him to resume this enterprise. His 
officers, however, were ordered to persist in a vain 
struggle to restore the Byzantine domination in south- 
em Italy, in order to form a base for operations 
against Sicily, The war was prolonged for several 
years. On one occasion a Sicilian fleet of forty sail 
passed the Hellespont, and appeared unexpectedly 
before Constantinople while the emperor was absent ; 
but the city was too well fortified to be exposed to 
any danger from such a force. The Sicilian admiral, 
after proclaiming his sovereign master of the sea, 
shooting a flight of gilded arrows at the walls of the 
great palace, and plundering some houses at Damalis 
on the Asiatic coast, retired.^ The Byzantine generals 

^ CinnamuB, 55; Nicetas, 52-61. ' Daru, Bistoire de Venite, i. 152. 

• Cinnamus, 58. Nicetas, 66, says the fleet was commanded by Count 



BOOK in. enrolled considerable bodies of mercenaries at Ancona 
"** * and Venice, and obtained some success in Apulia ; but 
at last Alexius Comnenos, the son of the Princess 
Anna the historian, having been defeated and taken 
prisoner, and Constantine Angelos, who was sent to 
regain the superiority with a powerful fleet, having 
met with the same fate, Manuel became inclined to 
peace. The terms of the treaty satisfied the vanity of 
the Byzantine emperor, and served the policy of the 
Sicilian king. The Byzantine oflBicers and soldiers who 
were prisoners in Sicily were released without ransom; 
but Manuel, with that indifference to useful industry, 
and to the feelings of his peaceful subjects, and with 
the ignorance of the true sources of national strength, 
as well as riches, which is so conmion among princes, 
left the artisans of Thebes and Corinth to pass their 
lives in bondage under the Norman king. The fact 
that they were well treated, and settled as freemen 
with their families around them, reflects honour on 
Roger and additional disgrace on Manuel. As they 
were living in a climate similar to that of their native 
cities, and in the midst of a population speaking the 
Greek language, they probably were happier in their 
favoured exile than they could have been under the 
fiscal oppression that reigned in Byzantine Greece.^ 
The peace between Manuel and William the Bad, 
Roger's son and successor, was concluded in the year 

The appearance of the crusading monarchs of Ger- 
many and France, and the events of the war with the 
King of Sicily, gave Manuel a more correct knowledge 
of the resources and wealth of western Europe than he 
had previously possessed. He began to fear their 

Maio, which places this visit to Constantinople in the reign of William the 
Bad ; but some writers attribute it to George AntiochenuSy the admiral of 
Roger.— Gaily Knight, Normant im Sieily, 62. 
^ Cinnamus, 69; Nioetas, 65. 


power as well as to esteem their valour, and during a. d. 

the remainder of his reign he watched the politics of [^ ' 

Italy with great attention. On more than one occa- 
sion he assisted the Italian cities in their struggle for 
liberty against Frederic Barbarossa, both with troops 
and money. He feared lest a general pacification of 
the Western states should enable some crusading 
monarch to employ an irresistible force against the 
Byzantine empire and the Greek Church. 

For about twenty years, from 1148 to 1168, the 
chief field of Manuel's personal exploits was on the 
northern frontier of his empire. His first campaign, 
after the faU of Corfu, was against the Sclavonian 
princes who ruled in Servia and Dahnatia, whom the 
Byzantine emperors always affected to consider as vas- 
sals, and who had been reaUy dependent on the empire 
as long as the state of the roads enabled the popula- 
tion of these mountainous districts to transport their 
produce with profit to the markets of the populous 
cities in Macedonia and Thrace. But the decay of com- 
munications by land had depopulated and barbarised 
the mountain districts, while the inhabitants of the 
sea-coast began to be more closely connected with Italy, 
by their commercial interests, than with the Byzantine 
empire. During the Sicilian war, the Prince of Servia 
had leagued himself with Roger ; Manuel now inarched 
into his coimtry in order to pimish him. The Him- 
garians sent a powerful army to his assistance, and the 
united forces encountered the emperor on the banks of 
the Drin, not far from its junction with the Save.^ 
Manuel lead his own troops to the attack, and behaved 
in the battle rather as a valiant knight than as a pru- 
dent general. At the head of his noble guard, he 
charged Bachin, the Servian archzupan, with his lance ; 

^ The Drin was then the boundary between Servia and the smaller princi- 
pality of Bosnia.— Cinnamus, 59. 


BOOK in. but the Servian general was a man of immense size, 
^ ' •"•*^ and his heavy armour turned aside the imperial lance. 
Bachin rushed at Manuel with his drawn sword, and 
cut away the linked veil th^fc hung before the emperor's 
face as a vizor. The broken clasps wounded Manuel's 
cheek, yet he instantly closed with his antagonist, and, 
seizing him by the sword arm, secured him as a pri- 
soner.^ The result of this combat decided the victory 
in favour of the imperial troops. Peace followed ; for 
the Servian prince, abandoning all hope of resistance 
after the defeat of the archzupan, swore fidelity to the 
emperor as a vassal, engaging to furnish a contingent 
of two thousand men to the Byzantine army whenever 
it took the field in Europe, and five hundred when the 
Servian auxiliaries were required to pass over into 
Asia. This treaty, after subsisting some years, was 
violated by Primislas, prince of Servia, on which Ma- 
nuel again invaded the country, dethroned Primislas, 
and conferred the government on his younger brothers 
Beluses and Deses. The latter, entering into secret 
alliances with Frederic Barbarossa and Stephen III. of 
Hungary, prepared to revolt ; but he was arrested by 
Manuel as a perfidious vassal, tried, condemned, and 
imprisoned at Constantinople. His successor Neeman 
continued to give the emperor as much trouble as his 
predecessors, planning rebellion when an opportimity 
presented itself, and making the humblest submissions 
whenever the emperor was prepared to invade Servia.^ 
All the wars which Manuel carried on in Europe 
were of secondary importance to his contest with the 
kings of Hungary, though by prudence and policy he 
might easily have avoided the necessity of wasting so 
large a portion of the military resources of lus empire 

1 CinnamuB, 64, and Nicetas, 61, mention this single combat For the 
obscure history of the princes of Soma, compare Cinnamus and Ducange, 
FamUwe Dalmatioa, Ac, 284. 

> Ducange, Fam. Dal., &c., 285. 

HUNGARIAN WAR, A.D. 1151. 213 

on this unnecessaiT and unprofitable war. His pre- a. d. 

text for commencing hostilities was the circumstance ' 

that Geisa II. had afibrded assistance to the Prince of 
Servia at the battle of the Drin ; but the real cause of 
his engaging in this ill-judged enterprise was a hope 
that he should be able to conquer a part of Hungary, 
in consequence of the continual disputes in that country 
concerning the succession to the crown. Manuel co- 
veted the possession of the country between the Save 
and the Danube. This district was the centre of a 
rapidly increasing commerce. In order to avoid the 
oppressive duties and fiscal severity of the Byzantine 
government, a very considerable portion of the trade 
which had once taken the routes by Cherson and Tre- 
bizond to Constantinople now avoided the empire, and 
passed along the northern shores of the Caspian and 
Black Seas, through the territory of the Patzinaks, 
until it reached Zeugmin. The commerce of the Greeks 
was thus declining in the north as well as the south. 
The Patzinaks, Russians, and Hungarians became their 
rivals in the carrying trade by land, as the Venetians, 
Pisans, and Genoese were by sea ; while the Jews and 
Lombards were beginning to supplant them as capi- 

Manuel invaded Hungary in the year 1151, when 
Geifsa II. was carrying on war in Russia. Zeugmin 
was taken. The emperor abandoned the place to be 
pillaged by his troops, making a merit of sparing the 
lives of the inhabitants. This mode of commencing 
the war naturally rendered aU the mercantile classes 
his determined enemies, in a country where traders 
were men accustomed to encounter danger, and fre- 
quently possessed both military skill and influence. 
The Byzantine army, after laying waste the province 
between the Save and Danube, crossed the latter river, 
stormed several cities, and spread its ravages far and 


Booxm. wide. Ge'isa, on returning from the war in Rii8sia» 
ch^hjji. £q^^^ ^^^^ Yiia forces were insufficient to encounter 
Manuel in the field. He therefore solicited a truce, 
which the emperor readily granted, that the Byzantine 
army might carry off the immense booty it had col- 
lected without molestation. These spoils were exhi- 
bited with great triumph at Constantinople. In the 
following year Greisa commenced hostilities by laying 
siege to Branisova, the command of which Manuel 
had imprudently intrusted to his unprincipled cousin 
Andronicus, who was suspected of inviting the Hun- 
garians to recommence the war, hoping that their move- 
ment would aid his own treasonable plots. But the 
promptitude of the emperor saved Branisova and de- 
ranged the projects of Andronicus. In the following 
year (1153) peace was concluded with Hungary, which 
lasted until the death of Geisa 11. in 1161. 

On Geisa's death, Manuel made the Hungarian law 
of succession to the throne a pretext for attacking the 
kingdom. As in many of the European monarchies 
of the time, the brother of the last monarch was pre- 
ferred to his son. But Geisa II. had done everything 
in his power to change this order of succession in 
Himgary, and to secure the succession to his son 
Stephen III. The great majority of the Hungarians 
supported his views and ratified his choice ; for they 
feared lest the brothers of Geisa, who had resided long 
at the Byzantine court, should sacrifice the indepen- 
dence of Hungary. Manuel, deeming the time favour- 
able for his own schemes of conquest, supplied Ladislas, 
the elder of the two brothers of Geisa II., with liberal 
aid. Stephen III. was driven from the throne, but 
Ladislas died after a reign of six months. Stephen, 
the youngest brother of Geisa, who had married Maria 
Conmena, the daughter of Isaac, the emperor's eldest 
brother, succeeded Ladislas. The exactions of Stephen 

HUNGARIAN WAE, A.D. 1163. 215 

soon rendered his government so unpopular that the -*-^- 

Hungarians took up arms, expelled him from the king- ' 

dom, and replaced his nephew Stephen III. on the 
throne. Manuel sent a Byzantine army into Hun- 
gary to assist the husband of his niece, and the elder 
Stephen again recovered his crown ; but the Byzantine 
troops had hardly crossed the Danube on their return 
before their royal client was compelled to follow them, 
and present himself once more as an exile at the im- 
perial court. Manuel, perceiving that his endeavours 
to force a worthless monarch on the Hungarians would 
only lead to an interminable war, consented to treat 
with Stephen HI, whom he acknowledged King of 
Hungary, on condition that Bela, his younger brother, 
should be recognised as heir to the Hungarian crown ; 
Bela engaging to adopt the Greek church, and marry 
Maria, the only chUd of Manuel. A treaty of peace 
was concluded on this basis in 1163, and the ceremony 
of the betrothal of Maria and Bela (whose name was 
changed to Alexios by the Greeks) was performed in 
the church of Blachem. Manuel conferred the title of 
Despot on the Hungarian prince, and looked forward 
to the union of Hungary with the Byzantiae empire 
as an achievement which would reflect immortal glory- 
on his reign, and raise the Eastern Empire to the 
highest degree of power among the states of Europe. 

This peace proved of short duration, for Manuel 
not only refused to disarm the elder Stephen, but even 
permitted him to enrol troops, and invade Hungary 
from the Byzantine territory. Stephen III., who justly 
held the emperor responsible for these hostilities, 
sequestrated the appanage of Bela in order to indem- 
nify Hungary for the losses it suffered, and Manuel 
recommenced the war. He entered Hungary in person 
at the head of a large army, and, bearing down all 
opposition, marched to Peterwardein ; but as his object 


BOOK in. was to conciliate the Hungarian people, he, on this 
"'"' occasion, prevented his troops from plundering, and 
oflFered to conclude peace if Stephen III. would restore 
Bela's appanage. Stephen III. preferred the chance 
of war, for he was on the eve of effecting his junction 
with his ally Uladislas, king of Bohemia, who had 
brought a powerful army to his assistance. The Hun- 
garian and Bohemian armies effected their jimction, 
but Manuel was not deterred by their numbers from 
advancing to attack them. He crossed the Danube, 
and encamped at Titul on the banks of the Teisse, in 
front of the two kings. The brilliant appearance of 
the Byzantine army after its rapid movements, the 
order with which it had marched, the high military 
reputation of the emperor, the moderation of Ida 
demands, and the justice of the King of Bohemia, 
prevented a battle. He persuaded Stephen III. to 
surrender Bela's appanage, and Manuel immediately 
retired. But the emperor, not having engaged to dis- 
arm the elder Stephen, still allowed him to assemble 
troops within the frontiers of the empire, and make 
plundering incursions into Hungary. The King of 
Hungary, finding that he had been deceived, reassem- 
bled his army, and, laying siege to Zeugmin, took 
that important city before it could receive assistance. 
His uncle Stephen was taken prisoner soon after, and, 
falling ill, is reported to have been murdered by a 
physician, who was suborned to bleed him with a 
poisoned lancet. 

The capture of Zeugmin enraged Manuel, who now 
resolved to dethrone Stephen, and place his son-in- 
law Bela on the throne. To effect this he formed 
alUances with the Emperor of Germany, Frederic Bar- 
barossa, with the Venetians, and with several of the 
princes who then governed different parts of Russia. 
In 1166 he assembled a powerful army at Sardica^ 


and marched to Zeugmin. Attacking the place with a. d. 
his ordinary impetuosity, he soon carried it by storm. ^ ^^^^^^ ^' 
The King of Hungary, seeing that he could offer no 
resistance in the field, sent an embassy to the emperor 
to demand peace, offering to cede Zeugmin, Sirmium, 
and Dalmatia to Manuel. To these offers Manuel 
replied by asking the Hungarian envoys, with a sneer, 
if their king possessed other cities named Zeugmin 
and Sirmium, and a second province called Dalmatia, 
for his troops were already in possession of the places 
usually known by those names. In this campaign, 
the Byzantiae army, under the immediate command 
of the emperor, conquered all the country between the 
Save and the Danube ; while a second army, imder the 
command of John Dukas, subdued all Hungarian 
Dalmatia, a province which then contained fifty- 
seven towns, among which were the cities of Trau, 
Sebenico, Spalatro, Dioclea, Scardona, Salona> and 

Next year (1167) the Byzantine army in Hungary 
was commanded through two Byzantine nobles, Gabras 
and Branas, by whose cowardice it was completely 
defeated.^ The Hungarian general, Dionysius, was an 
oflScer of great military talent. To repair the losses 
caused by this disaster, the emperor took the field in 

^ Michael Oabras was the husband of Eudocia Comnena, the paramour of 
Andronicufl. The two historians of ManuePs reign, Cinnamna and Nicetas, 
both record an anecdote which reveals the corruption of the Byzantine court. 
The defeated generals were accused of ruining the army by their misconduct, 
before they made the final exhibition of their cowardice on the field of battle. 
In spite of former jealousies, they agreed to stand by one another in their 
defence. When Gabras was examined by the emperor in council, he referred 
to Branas as a man who could give disinterested evidence concerning his 
behaviour as commander-in-chief. Branas was in consequence brought before 
the emperor to bo examined ; but he requested that Qabras, as his superior 
officer, might bear testimony to his conduct, as second in command, in order 
that he might speak more freely concerning Gabras. On this appeal, Gabraa 
praised the personal valour of Branas, particularly in covering the retreat. 
When he concluded, Branas coolly oleerved, ** I am surprised you know so 
well what I performed, for I swear by the head of the emperor, that when I 
turned myself, I hardly got a glimpse of you galloping off in the distance." 
— Cinnamus, 151 ; Nicetas, 87. 


BOOK ni. person in 1168 ; but the state of his health prevented 
Clunks, j^ accompanying all the movements of the army, the 
immediate command of which he intrusted to his 
nephew, Andronicus Koutostephanos. The Himga- 
rians had a well-appointed and numerous army under 
the command of Dionysius. The Byzantine council 
of war decided that Koutostephanos should engage 
the enemy without loss of time ; and the emperor, 
who was extremely superstitious, was delighted with 
his decision when he learned that, just as the council 
rose, a Hungarian, who was galloping towards the 
Byzantine camp, had fallen from his horse. This 
trifling accident he viewed as a lucky omen, and Kou- 
tostephanos was ordered to hasten forward. But the 
astrologers who accompanied the emperor, being anxious 
to avoid falling into neglect, assured Manuel that he 
should himself suffer some misfortune if the engagement 
took place next day. Manuel was weak enough to send 
a courier to his general at their suggestion, ordering 
him to suspend the attack for twenty-four hours. Kou- 
tostephanos had already made his dispositions for 
battle when the imperial order reached him, and he 
thought there would be more danger in withdrawing 
his troops from their positions, and passing a whole 
day inactively, than in despising the predictions of 
the astrologers, for he had no confidence in the tactics 
of the stars. He knew well that nothing but a com- 
plete victory would serve as his apology for dis- 
obeying the imperial order ; and as delay seemed to 
him likely to diminish his chances, the order was 
instantly given for attacking the Himgarians. The 
battle was long and bloody. Dionysius had drawn 
up his best troops in one solid mass, at the head of 
which he expected to break through the ranks of the 
Byzantine army, and then destroy its divisions in 
detail. He himself fought beside the national stan- 

BATTLE OF ZEUGMIN, A.D. 1168. 219 

dard of Hungary, which was displayed on a tall mast a. d. 

fixed in an immense waggon, and elevated high above t !^' 

the field, that it might serve both as a guide for the 
attacks and a rallying-point for the repulses of the 
Hungarian squadrons. ^ The plan of Dionysius was 
foiled by the dispositions of Koutostephanos. The 
cavalry, which composed the best part of the Himga- 
rian army, was broken by the Byzantine horse, and 
after a desperate struggle driven from the field. The 
great standard was taken ; Dionysius saved himself 
with difficulty; two thousand suits of complete armour 
were collected from the slain, against which the lances 
of the Byzantine cavalry had been shivered in vain, 
and whose wearers had only perished when their 
helmets were crushed by the weight of the terrible 
mace-of-arms. Only eight hundred prisoners were 
taken, for the imperial cavalry was too much exhausted 
to continue the pursuit ; but these prisoners were the 
heaviest-armed and bravest knights in the enemy's 
army : among their number were many of the highest 
nobility, and five Bans.^ 

This battle, which was fought near Zeugmin, put an 
end to the war. Peace was concluded in 1168, Stephen 
III. ceding to the empire Zeugmin, Sirmium, and Dal- 
matia, so that Manuel only gained the same terms after 
the victory of Koutostephanos which he might have 
obtained in the year 1166. When Manuel returned to 
Constantinople, he made a triumphal entry into the 
city, riding on horseback, with Andronicus Koutoste- 
phanos by his side. The imperial cavalcade was pre- 
ceded by a chariot of silver gilt, drawn by four white 
horses, in which a picture of the Virgin Mary was dis- 
played to the superstitious inhabitants, who considered 
the protection of the Virgin as a surer defence for the 

' CinnamuB, 160, calls the Bans " Zupans.'* 


BOOK HL empire than either a well-disciplined army or a wise 
^ '' "* * ^ political administration. This was Manuel's last tri- 
imiph, and the battle of Zeugmin was one of the last 
great victories gained by the Byzantine arms. The 
splendour of the Eastern Empire now began to wane, 
and was rapidly obscured, never to recover its bright- 

Though Manuel had suppressed his anger, and over- 
looked at the time the insolence of the Venetians dur- 
ing the siege of Corfu, he never forgot it ; nor was he 
prudent enough to conceal the jealousy he felt at the 
increasing power and wealth of the republic. His ill- 
will was displayed in the strictness with which he 
interpreted every clause of the treaties and charters 
conceding to them their commercial privileges and 
immunities in the Byzantine empire. It was natural, 
therefore, that the conquest of the southern part of 
Dalmatia by John Ducas in 1166, and the negotia- 
tions of Manuel with Frederic Barbarossa, should alarm 
the Venetian senate, and render war with the Eastern 
Empire an event which it might soon be impossible to 
avoid. In this state of feeling, Manuel availed himself 
of some tumults between the Venetians and Lombards 
settled at Constantinople to impose new restrictions 
on the Venetians. Ever since the time of Alexius I. 
the Venetians had possessed a street or quarter of their 
own, where their warehouses were situated. This 
quarter possessed its own quay, and enjoyed the privi- 
leges of a free port. All Venetian subjects were bound 
to reside within its limits, and justice was there admi- 
nistered, in the differences of Venetian subjects, accord- 
ing to the laws of Venice. But the numbers of the 
Venetians established in the empire soon increased, 
and many resided beyond the limits of the privileged 

^ For the Hungarian wars, see Cinnamus, 56, 72, 75, 123, 134, 145, 150-160; 
Kicetas, 61, 67, 88, 87, 98-103. 

WAR WITH VENICE, A.D. 1171. 221 

quarter. Their wealth and character obtaiiied for them a. d. 
matrimonial alliances with many respectable * native "^^^^^ ' 
families. It seems, at first sight, a strange fact that 
so many of the foreign races which took up their resi- 
dence within the limits of the Byzantine empire should 
have increased more rapidly than the Greeks, and than 
that relic of the Roman conquerors which still formed 
the dominant portion of Byzantine society; but a little 
attention to the history of the empire reveals the fact 
that fiscal oppression deprived the natives of all hope 
of bettering their condition, and compelled them to 
rest contented if they could preserve the possessions 
they had inherited from their ancestors unimpaired, 
while among the higher ranks social corruption and 
pride of caste prevented all increase of numbers. On 
the other hand, the condition of foreign settlers, and 
particularly of the Venetians, was very difierent : they 
escaped the worst effects of imperial rapacity, and their 
social manners still rendered a numerous family a 
greater enjoyment, and a surer means of obtaining 
consideration in the decline of life, than a large house 
and a gallery of pictures and statues. But though the 
moral and poUtical state of Venetian society was supe- 
rior to that of Greek, it had also great defects. The spirit 
of personal independence, which gave strength and dig- 
nity to the republic, too often degenerated in the indi- 
vidual Venetian into disorderly conduct and insolence 
to others. They frequently raised tumults in the 
streets of Constantinople, and set the imperial oflficers 
and the laws of the empire at defiance. 

Manuel determined to make the great party-quarrel 
of the Venetians and Lombards the pretext for increas- 
ing his power over the Venetians settled in his empire. 
Every Venetian was ordered to reside within the quarter 
set apart for their habitation ; all who continued to 
dwell without those limits were commanded to take 


BOOK m. the oath of aUegiance as subjects of the emperor, in 
*' "' * ' order to secure for themselves and their property the 
protection of the Byzantine laws. Many Venetians 
complied with this ordinance rather than sacrifice the 
landed property they possessed ; but they could not so 
readily lay aside their disorderly habits, and forget 
their party contests. The Venetians repeated their 
attacks on the Lombards, overpowered their opponents, 
and plundered their warehouses. The Emperor Manuel 
was justly enraged at the insolent contempt shown for 
his authority in his own capital. To avenge the injured 
laws of his empire, and, as was generally thought, to 
gratify at the same time his own avarice, he ordered 
all the Venetians in his dominions to be arrested, and 
their property to be sequestrated, (a.d. 1171.) 

The government of Venice regarded the emperor's 
conduct in this afiair as a direct violation of their 
treaty ; they held that he was only authorised to arrest 
those who had taken part in the tumult, and that any 
claim for pecuniary indemnification ought to have been 
addressed to the Venetian senate, whose refusal to pay 
the demand could alone authorise the sequestration of 
private property. The republic, therefore, fitted out a 
fleet to exact reparation from Manuel; and in the 
spring of 1172 the Doge Vital Michieli II. sailed with 
one hundred galleys and twenty carracks to attack the 
recent conquests of John Dukas in Dalmatia. Trau 
and Kagusa were besieged and taken, and the Byzan- 
tine forces were soon expelled from all Dalmatia. The 
doge then sailed to the Archipelago, whef e, however, he 
was not so fortunate as he had been in the Adriatic. 
After losing some time in a vain attempt to render 
himself master of Chalcis in Euboea, he took possession 
of the island of Chios, where he passed the winter. 
The Greeks everywhere showed the greatest animosity 
to the Venetians, whose commercial immunities had 

WAR WITH VENICE, A.D. 1171. 223 

robbed them of a considerable portion of their trade, a. d. 
and the doge became sensible that he had no chance ^ ^^"^ ' 
of making any permanent conquest in the ^Egean. The 
merchants of Venice already felt the loss of their com- 
merce with Constantinople, and the senate began to 
fear lest the privileges which the Venetians had pre- 
viously enjoyed should be conferred on the Pisans or 
the Genoese. An embassy was despatched to solicit 
peace with the Byzantine empire, but the terms offered 
were rejected by Manuel. 

In the mean time a dreadful pestilence broke out in 
the Venetian fleet at Chios ; while the imperial fleet, 
which had been almost entirely destroyed in an unsuc- 
cessful invasion of Egypt during the year 1170, was 
again ready for sea. In the spring of 1173, one hun- 
dred and fifty Byzantine gaUeys issued from the Helles- 
pont to attack the Venetians. The republican force 
was so enfeebled by the ravages of the plague that the 
doge abandoned Chios on the approach of the enemy, 
and retired successively to Lesbos, Lemnos, and Sky- 
ros, gradually abandoning numbers of his ships, as the 
crews were thinned by disease. At last he quitted the 
Archipelago altogether, and returned to Venice with 
seventeen ships ; the rest had either been abandoned 
from want of hands to navigate them, or they had 
been captured by the Greeks. 

Before quitting the Grecian seas the doge sent a 
second embassy to the Emperor Manuel. One of the 
ambassadors was Henry Dandolo, a man whose name 
will live for ever in the annals of the Byzantiae em- 
pire and in the history of the Greek race. Thirty 
years after this he again visited Constantinople, and 
was the principal agent in destroying the Eastern 
Empire and enslaving the Greek people. The proposi- 
tions of the doge were again rejected, and the ambas- 
sadors had perhaps reason to complain of the rudeness 


BOOK III. of their reception.* The Doge Vital Michieli was held 
llli^ to be responsible for misfortunes he could not prevent, 
and the Venetians, being as ungovernable in their pas- 
sions at home as abroad, assassinated him in a public 
assembly. The social condition of the republic evi- 
dently called for reform. It was universally admitted 
that there was a necessity for adding to the vigour of 
the law. The ruling men in the senate made this 
necessity a pretext for changing the old aristocratic 
democracy into an administrative oligarchy.* 

To revenge themselves for their losses in the East the 
Venetians resolved to destroy the city of Ancona, which 
was their rival in the trade of the Adriatic, and might, 
through the protection of the Emperor of Constantinople, 
supplant them in their commerce with the East. The 
Emperor Frederic Barbarossa, who was anxious to gain 
possession of Ancona for himself, joined the republic; 
and while the Venetian fleet blockaded the port, a 
German army besieged the city by land. The inhabit- 
ants defended themselves most valiantly, and all the 
attacks of the besiegers were repulsed ; but towards the 
end of autumn their provisions failed, and hunger 

1 Many writers have repeated tbe fable that Dandolo was deprived of bis 
sight by the Emperor Manuel when he visited Constantinople as ambassador 
of Venice on this occasion. The authority quoted is the chronicle of Andrea 
Dandolo, himself a doge of Venice, and a descendant of the great Henry. But 
the story is certainly &lse; and though silence can rarely prove any fkct, yet 
in this case the silence of Villehardouin is decisive. Villehardouin, who was 
the companion of Dandolo in his enterprise against Constantinople, and bis 
personal friend, mentions that he was stone-blind from a wound in his head, 
so that in all probability his loss of sight was caused by some accident not 
connected with any historical event Villehardouin would have been delighted 
to urge the treachery of Manuel as an excuse for the rapines of the Crusaders. 
— Andrea Dandolo, Chron., lib. x., c. 4; Dam, Histoire de Venue, L 176; Ville- 
hardouin, Texts, published by Buchon in his JUcherches et MatiriauXy 47, 228. 

' Dam mentions that fifty doges had preceded Vital Michieli IL Of these 
nineteen were driven from the throne by violence, and five abdicated. It is 
worth while observing, that the state of society seems to have had more to do 
in producing these revolutions than the form of government ; and perhaps the 
social state of Venice presented a miniature copy of that of Constantinople. 
The Emperor Leontius reigned over the Eastern Empire when the first Doge 
of Venice was elected in 697. From that period until 1174, the throne was 
occupied by forty-four sovereigns; and of these nineteen were driven from the 
throne by violence, one perished in battle, and one (Isaac I.) voluntarily 
resigned his crown. 

PEACE WITH VENICE, A.D. 1174. 225 

compelled to demand a capitulation. The Archbishop 
of Mayence, who commanded the German anny, in- 
sisted that they should surrender at discretion, when 
the people of Ancona, who hesitated to accept such 
hard terms, were saved from the dangerous experiment 
of trusting to the mercy of the warlike ecclesiastic by 
the patriotism of an Italian lady and of a wealthy 
citizen of Ferrara. An Italian army, levied by their 
exertions, advanced to Ancona and defeated the Ger- 
mans. The ships in the port, elated with the victory 
of their allies, sailed out, and by their sudden attack 
threw the Venetians into confusion, so that the siege 
and blockade were both raised. William Adelard, the 
patriotic citizen of Ferrara, carried the news of this 
success to the Emperor Manuel, who received him with 
honour. The expenses of the Italian army were repaid, 
rich presents were sent to the noble Italian lady, whose 
name the Greek historian refuses to record, but which 
from other sources we learn was Aldruda, countess of 

The repeated losses which the Venetians had sus- 
tained di^sed them to seek peace with the Byzantine 
empire on the best terms they could procure, while 
Manuel was equally desirous to terminate his unpro- 
fitable contest with the republic, in order to devote all 
his forces to arrest the progress of the Turks, who 
were daily increasing their power in Asia Minor. A 
treaty of peace was concluded about the end of the year 
1174, which restored the Venetians to the position they 
occupied in 1171, before the war broke out. Their 
ancient privileges were confirmed, and Manuel engaged 
to pay fifteen hundred pounds' weight of gold in a 
fixed number of instalments as an indemnity for the 

1 Cinnamus, 168, says, 'Hv dc ns yvvrj^ IraX^ fuv t6 ycVos. There is great 
uncertainty in the chronology of this period ; — see the notes of Ducange to 
Cinnamus, 49 1 . Wilken, 6 1 3. Nicetas, 131. 


A. D. 



BOOK m. property of the Venetian merchants which had been 
'"' confiscated. 

The Asiatic wars of Manuel were generally com- 
menced and conducted with the same indifference to 
the dictates of sound policy and the real interest of his 
empire as the European. Instead of forming a firm 
alliance with the Armenian sovereigns of Cilicia and 
the Frank princes of Antioch, and directing the united 
forces of the confederacy to break the power of the 
sultans of Iconium, and to expel the Turks from 
Phrygia and Bithynia, the emperor wasted the re- 
sources of the Christians and aided the growth of the 
Turkish power by his repeated attacks on Cilicia and 
Antioch, and his constant endeavours to force their 
princes to acknowledge a temporary vassalage to the 
Byzantine crown. Success unfortunately favoured his 
arms in the projects least conducive to his interests. 
Raymond of Poitiers, prince of Antioch, was defeated, 
and compelled to own himself a vassal of the imperial 
throne, as he had done during the life of the Emperor 
John. This was Manners first warlike exploit as 
emperor, and it took place in the year 1144, during 
the summer which preceded the conquest of the Chris- 
tian principality of Edessa by Zengui.^ Raymond 
perished in a battle with Noureddin, sultan of Aleppo, 
in 1149. Reynold of Chatillon married Constance of 
Antioch, his widow, and conducted the government of 
the principality more like a leader of robbers than a 
civilised prince.^ He renewed the war with Manuel 
by invading C3rprus, which he plundered in the most 

1 See above, page 196, note 2. 

* Reynold's brigandage caused the ruin of the kingdom of Jerusalem ; for it 
was in consequence of his plundering a caravan of Mussulmans, and throwing 
hia captives into prison, that Saladiu declared war with the Chiistiana. Rey- 
nold was taken prisoner at the battle of Hottein ; and his murder in Saladin'a 
tent, some say by- the sultan's own hand, has been described by Sir Walter 
Scott in The laliiman, when he narrates the death of the Grand Master of the 


barbarous manner. Manud, however, could not find a. d. 

time to punish Reynold until the year 1155, but he t ' 

then imposed on him the deepest humiliation. The 
emperor advanced to Mopsuestia with an army which 
Reynold was unable to resist. The Patriarch of Antioch, 
who had been grossly insulted by the Frank prince, 
would have either admitted the Byzantine troops into 
the city or betrayed Eejmold into the emperor's hands, 
had Manuel not been more desirous to chastise his 
enemy than to occupy his principality. The Prince of 
Antioch was also in reality only the regent of his wife's 
dominions. He was allowed to retain his authority on 
presenting himself at the emperor's court in Mopsuestia 
with a rope round his neck, after marching barefooted 
and bareheaded through the streets to the imperial 
residence. When he entered the emperor's presence he 
fell on his knees, and implored mercy with uplifted 
hands. After long solicitation he received his pardon, 
on binding himself to furnish a contingent of troops to 
the Byzantine armies, and engaging to treat the Greek 
patriarch with the respect due to his rank in the ortho- 
dox church, and to furnish him with an official resi- 
dence within the walls of Antioch, (a.d. 1155.) 

Armenian Cihcia was at this time governed by 
Thoros, an able prince and gaUant soldier, whose posi- 
tion exposed him to be attacked on every side. The 
Byzantine emperors regarded the Armenian princi- 
pality as a portion of their dominions ; and the prospe- 
rity it enjoyed, from being usually governed in a less 
oppressive manner than the provinces of the empire, 
excited their rapacity. The Byzantine emperors, the 
sultans of Iconium, and the princes of Antioch, were • 
all eager to make conquests from the Armenians, so 
that Thoros was compelled either to fight with these 
powerful neighbours or form alliances with one against 
the others as circumstances dictated. Manuel had 


BOOK ni. twice intrusted his cousin Andronicus with the com- 
chjm a. jj^gj^j q£ armies destined to subdue Thoros, but the 
folly and rashness of that debauched prince led to 
their complete defeat, a.d. 1145 and 1152. At length, 
in the year 1155, Manuel led an army in person 
through the defiles of Mount Taurus, and compelled 
Thoros to become his vassal and receive the investiture 
of his dominions by a golden bull, with the title of 
Pansevastos, to mark his subjection. 

While Manuel remained at Mopsuestia, his court 
was visited by Baldwin III., king of Jerusalem, (who 
subsequently married his niece Theodora^), by Reynold 
of Antioch — ^in a very humble manner, as we have 
already narrated — ^and by Thoros, the sovereign of 
Armem'an Cilicia. All were solicitous of gaioing the 
emperor's favour, but Manuel derived little advantage 
either from his own brilliant military exploits or from the 
public submission of these proud and warlike princes. 
He had, nevertheless, the gratification of making a 
triumphal entry into Antioch in the midst of his 
Varangian guard — ^a pageant which greatly flattered 
his pride, because it appeared to elevate his power 
above that of his father. He had also the pleasure of 
exhibiting his skill in all the exercises of chivalry at a 
grand tournament, where he unhorsed every antago- 
nist, and left the Frank knights amazed at his skill, 
strength, and daring. Even Noureddin, the Sultan of 
Aleppo, who was as politic as he was valiant, sought 
to avoid war with so powerful an enemy, and pur- 
chased peace by releasing Bertrand, the Grand Master 
of the Templars, with six thousand French and German 
prisoners, the remains of the armies of Louis VJI. and 
Conrad III., who were languishing in hopeless slavery. 

1 Theodora was the daughter of Isaac, the emperor's elder brother. She 
was married in 1168, at the age of thirteen. After Baldwin's death, she 
became the concubine of her cousin Andronicus, and had a number of stnuige 
adventures with him.^Ducange, Fam, Jug. Byz., 183. 

Manuel's second mabbiage, a.d. 1161. 229 
Manuel returned to Constantinople covered with per- a. d. 

1 ^ ^ 1143-1180. 

sonal renown. 

In 1161 Manuel married the beautiful Maria, daugh- 
ter of Raymond of Poitiers and Constance princess of 
AntiocL Raymond, count of Tripoli, who had been 
led to believe that the emperor was on the eve of 
espousing his sister Melisenda, considered this mar- 
riage to be an insult which he was bound to avenge. 
In order to obtain what was held to be honourable 
satisfaction, he sent the twelve galleys he had prepared 
to conduct his sister to Constantinople to plunder the 
islands of the Archipelago. The Saracen pirates never 
committed greater cruelties than the Christians in Ray- 
mond's ships. They spared neither age nor sex ; monas- 
teries and churches were pillaged, towns and villages 
were burned to the ground, and no inconsiderable por- 
tion of the inhabitants in many islands were extermi- 
nated. Yet Manuel was so occupied with his marriage 
festivities that he paid no attention to the sufferings 
of his subjects; and when the Byzantine fleet had 
chased the galleys of Raymond out of the Grecian seas, 
their ravages were forgotten by the government.^ 

The lavish and wasteful administration of Manuel 
caused him to adopt many iU-judged schemes for re- 
cruiting his finances. Before his unjust sequestration 
of the property of the Venetian merchants, he had ex- 
pected to fill his exhausted treasury by the spoils of 
Egypt. After the termination of the Hungarian war, 
he joined Amaury I., king of Jerusalem, in a project 
for the subjugation of Egypt, which was then in a state 
of anarchy. An imperial fleet, consisting of one hun- 
dred and fifty galleys, sixty cavalry transports, in which 
a well-appointed army was embarked, attended by ten 
dromons laden with provisions and engines of war, 

^ William of Tyre, book zviii. chap. 88 ; Bongars, 958. The Bynntine 
writen do not coxunder these rayages worthy of oommemoration. 


BOOK ni. sailed for Egypt under the command of Andronicus 
CBL^s. Koutostephanos. Ten galleys of this fleet were fitted 
out by the city of Dyrrachium, and six by the island 
of Euboea; for Manuel had not yet confiscated the 
municipal revenues of the commercial cities in the 
empire to fill the central treasury at Constantinople, 
and be wasted on the pageantry of the imperial court.^ 
When Amaury beheld the strength of the Byzantine 
expedition, his avarice induced him to delay his own 
preparations, and it was near the end of October 1170 
before he joined Koutostephanos under the walls of 
Damietta. The Byzantine general pushed the siege 
with vigour, and conducted himself in a manner worthy 
of the victor of Zeugmin ; but the Franks of Jerusalem 
afforded him little assistance, and after remaining be- 
fore the place fifty days, provisions began to fail, and 
Koutostephanos was compelled to conclude a truce 
with the Egyptians, in order to retire with his army by 
land into Syria. The fleet, on its return, was dispersed 
by a succession of storms, and few of the ships reached 
Constantinople in safety.^ Amaury had thwarted, and 
perhaps betrayed, the Egyptian expedition ; but next 
year (1171) he was so alarmed at the progress of 
Saladin that he visited Constantinople to solicit assist* 
ance firom Manuel. He was treated by the emperor 
with great magniflcence ; and during the three months 
he remained, as much money was spent in pageants, 
festivals, and tournaments, as would have raised a 
powerful army. Manuel seized any pretext for mag- 
nificent display ; but the disasters of the Byzantine 
forces before Damietta deprived him of the wish, and 
weakened his power, to afford the King of Jerusalem 
any effective assistance. 

^ William of ^Qrre, zz. 14; Bongan, 982; and Nicetas, 104. 

' William of l^re admits that the conduct of the King of Jenualem waa 
unfriendly, if not treaoherona, zx. 16, 17; Bongars, 988. Compare Cinnanlus, 
162, and Nicetae, 107. 


We must now review Manuel's conduct and policy a. d. 
in his relations with the Seljouk Turks, who possessed ^ ^^^^^^ ' 
the greater part of Asia Mmor, and counted a nume- 
rous population of Greek Christians among their sub- 
jects. The Sultan of Iconium was the nearest and 
most dangerous enemy of the Byzantine empire. Pru- 
dence required Manuel to devote his unwearied atten- 
tion to oppose the progress of a power hostile to the 
civilisation and the laws of the Christians, as well as 
to their political government. The emperor had seen 
that his father, even towards the end of his reign, after 
he had gained many victories over the Turks, was 
compelled to struggle hard to prevent their establishing 
themselves on the banks of the Rhyndacus, and had 
great dijQBiculty in driving them from the plains of 
Bithynia. At the commencement of his own reign, 
Manuel appears, indeed, to have been fully persuaded 
of the necessity of circumscribing the Turkish domi- 
nions ; and after he had arranged his differences with 
Raymond of Antioch, he led the well-disciplined army 
he had inherited from his father against the Sultan of 
Iconium. The Turkish troops were defeated whenever 
they could be brought to risk an engagement ; yet, in 
this campaign of 1145, the Byzantine army was unable 
to advance beyond Philomelium, and in the following 
year it only reached the shores of the lake Fasgusa, 
which his father had depopulated. Manuel was, i:iever- 
theless, preparing an army to besiege Iconium, when 
the expedition of Roger of Sicily against Greece, and 
the movements of the leaders of the second cru- 
sade, compelled him to concentrate his best troops 
for the defence of Constantinople. He therefore con- 
cluded a treaty of peace with Massoud, the Sultan 
of Iconium, a measure of common prudence, which 
the Crusaders regarded as an act of signal treachery 
to the Christian cause. This peace endured with- 


BooKm. out interruption until the death of Sultan Maasoud 

Cn^X .^ ^jgg 

Had Manuel been able to appreciate the full extent 
of the alarming changes which were going on during 
his reign in the social condition of the various races 
that peopled his empire, he must have been struck 
with the necessity of making great exertions to increase 
the resources, the numbers, and the strength of the 
Greek population in the provinces nearest to the 
Turks ; but no measures having this object in view 
are noticed by the historians of his reign. It appears, 
therefore, that neither the emperor nor his ministers 
attached sufficient importance to the decline which was 
taking place in the numbers of the Christian population 
of the Byzantine provinces in Asia Minor, while, per- 
haps, they neglected to contrast it with the steady 
increase of the Mohammedan population in the domi- 
nions of the Sultan of Iconium, The corruption of 
Byzantine society was certainly not entirely unobserved 
by Manuel ; but his education taught him to believe 
thatecclesiasticalformulas andstrict orthodoxy were suf- 
ficient to cure every evil. The church, however, proved 
as ineflFectual to oppose the progress of Mohammedan- 
ism, under the Seljouks, as it had proved in earlier 
times to arrest its advance under the Saracens ; while, 
on the other hand, Manuel and his contemporaries 
were destitute of the enlightened views and the free- 
dom from orthodox prejudices which had rendered 
Leo the Isaurian and his Iconoclast supporters capable 
of infusing new vigour into society by an equitable 
administration of the law. An increase of the Greek 
population in the Asiatic provinces could alone have 
enabled the Byzantine government to resist the pro- 
gress of the Turks ; but to produce this increase, a 
great change would have been required both in the 
conduct of the administration and the condition of the 


people. Manuel must have diminished the expenses a. d. 
of his court, lightened the weight of taxation, im- ^ ^^ ^^ ' 
proved the civil and judicial administration, enlarged 
the sphere of municipal activity, and facilitated the 
means of intercourse by land and sea; while the Greek 
people must have adopted habits of industry, self-reli- 
ance, and truth, from which they had been long weaned 
by the fiscal oppression of their masters ; and they must 
have learned to regard the commandments of God as 
more binding than the superstitions, traditions, or 
canons of the churcL 

The Sultan Massoud, at his death, divided his domi- 
nions among his children, and his eldest son, Kilidy- 
Arslan II., succeeded to the sovereignty of Iconium. 
As Manuel was marching carelessly through the Turk- 
ish territory on his return from Antioch in the early 
part of the year 1157, his troops were attacked by the 
Turks. The war was renewed ; but the new sultan, 
finding himself too weak to encounter the Byzantine 
army in the field, endeavoured to avert hostilities with 
the Christians untU he had regained possession of the 
territories ceded to his brothers. Manuel, having in- 
duced many of the bands of Crusaders, who were in the 
habit of touching at Bhodes on their passage to Pales- 
tine, to join his army by the high pay he offered, col- 
lected an immense number of chariots and oxen in the 
Thrakesian theme to transport his military stores, and 
threatened to attack Iconium. Kilidy-Arslan, however, 
succeeded in averting the attack by consenting to 
surrender every place the Turks had occupied since 
the death of John II., by engaging to maintain an 
auxiliary corps of Turkish cavalry in the emperor's 
service, and by promising to prevent any hostile in- 
roads of the nomadic Turkmans into the Byzantine 
territory.* These conditions prove that the Greeks 

^ CinnamiiB, 121, calls these nomades TovpicofuiMM. 


BOOK m. had been losing ground duiing the reign of Manuel ; 
ciLu^a. ^^^ ^j^^ ^ ^p.^ ^£ ^j^^ great force he had assembled 

for the conquest of Iconium, he felt the difficulty of 
retaining possession of that city, even if he succeeded 
in taking it. Shortly after the conclusion of this 
treaty, Kilidy-Arslan visited Constantinople, where he 
was received with great pomp. This visit had a bad 
effect on the fortunes of the empire. Manuel despised 
the sultan on account of his mean appearance and sub- 
missive behaviour ; while the astute Mussulman, who 
concealed his envious and daring character, perceived 
many of the weak points of the Byzantine power, and 
became eager to acquire a share of the wealth which 
he saw so ill defended.^ 

The peace between the emperor and the sultan was 
in reality only a truce, during which both parties were 
ready to avail themselves of any opportunity of renew- 
ing the war with advantage. Both sovereigns found 
themselves ready for action about the same time. 
Kilidy-Arslan, having subdued all his brothers, re- 
united all the central provinces of Asia Minor under 
his dominion. Manuel, who had seen all his schemes 
of distant conquest^ and all his labour for the acquisi- 
tion of military glory prove delusive, now, when it was 
already too late, turned his attention to what ought to 
have been his first military duty as Emperor of Con- 
stantinople. He resolved to devote all his energies to 
driving back the tide of Turkish emigration. For this 
purpose he repeopled and fortified Dorylaeum, and a 

1 Daring the sultan's yisH at Constantinople, one of his attendants made an 
attempt to fly from the summit of the Theatra He was dashed to pieooe in 
spite of his artificial wings, to the great amusement of the mob. — Nioetas, 78. 

In the reign of James IV., an Italian viuted Scotland^ and the king made 
him Abbot of Tungland in Galloway for his supposed skill in alchemy. He 
pretended that he oould fly, and made an attempt from the walls of Stirling 
Castle; but his wings failed him, and he fell to the ground and broke his 
thigh-bone. The aDlx>t accounted for his misfortune in a singular manner. 
" My wings," said he, ^ were composed of various feathers; among them were 
those of dunghill fowls, and these by sympathy were attracted to the nearest 
dunghilL''-'ilficJail SooUith Poem$, from MS. of Qeorge Bannatyne, 20, 280. 


place at the most distant sources of the Mssander called a. d. 
Subleon. The sultan complained of the construction "^^|^^- 
of these works as an infringement of the treaty ; for 
both Dorjkeum and Subleon were situated in the 
midst of districts occupied by Turkish settlers. Manuel, 
however, whose object was to stop the constant en- 
croachments of the Turkish nomades, persisted in 
completing these fortresses as the only means of expel- 
ling the Turks from the country round.^ 

The war recommenced in the year 1 1 76. The sultan 
had obtained large reinforcements from the Turks of 
Mesopotamia, who were accustomed to engage the 
cMvahy of Europe on the plains of Syria, where they 
had begun to show themselves superior to the Franks. 
The emperor, besides assembling all his veterans fix>m 
the frontiers of Hungary^ enrolled new corps of Franks 
and Fatzinaks. He collected large supplies of cattle 
for provisioning the army, and prepared a train of three 
thousand waggons for tibe transport of the stores and 
military engines necessary for tlie siege of Iconium.^ 
In the month of September, the army advanced, under 
the immediate command of Manuel, by Laodicea to 
ChonaB (then a large and populous town), the birth- 
place of the historian Nicetas, who has left us a minute 
account of the events that followed. The emperor 
advanced, occupjdng Lampe Celsense, to Choma^ and to 
a ruined fortress called Myriokephalon, which has be* 
come memorable by the total defeat of the Byzantine 
army.' At this place Manuel received an embassy from 

^ Subleon (Nieetas, 115) is exiled Snblas by Cumamus, 174. It is identified 
with Silbium, and has been supposed to be at Suba^l This, however, would 
place il in Manuel's line of adyanoe from CelsensB; and if it had been so^ it 
could hardly have escaped the notice of Nicetas. Perhaps it must be sought 
in the plain of Sandukli— See Hamilton s Retecuthei, vol. u. p. 167, 365. 

* Cinnamus, 174. 

' Nicetas mentions his birthplace, p. 115. Manuel apparently proposed to 
advance by the ancient road fh>m Celann to ApoUonia and Antioch of Pisi- 
dia, firom whence he could march to Iconium either by Philomelium or by the 
lake Pasgusa.— Leake's Atia Minor, 166. Hamilton must have passed very 


BOOK m. Eilidy-Aralan, offering to conclude peace on the condi- 
CHMi^a. ^j^^ ^£ ^^^^ fonner treaty ; but the emperor replied 
that he would give an answer at Iconium, and imme- 
diately marched forward from Myriokephalon into the 
pass of Tzyvritze. The Turks had already begun to 
hang about the army, carrying away all the forage, an4 
destrojring the wells and springs, so that fatigue and 
bad water had already spread disease among the 

Everything indicated the necessity of marching with 
caution ; and the fate of the armies of Conrad of Grer- 
many and Louis of France ought to have served as an 
additional warning to Manuel Yet Manuel pushed 
forward without adopting the commonest precautions. 
Without sending forward his cavalry to clear the defiles 
and protect his flanks, he entered the vaUey of Tzy- 
vritze, a long pass, over the southern side of which the 
mountains protrude in bold precipitous rocks, while 
to the north the hills which bound it open into several 
wide ravines. Into this dangerous defile the Byzantine 
army plunged with such carelessness that its different 
divisions were ten miles apart, separated by the long 
trains of waggons and cattle which accompanied their 
march. The Turks, who watched all the movements 
of the Christians from their ambuscades, began the 
attack as soon as the baggage reached the middle of 
the pass. The front and rear of the Byzantine army 
were assailed at the same time; but the advanced 
guard, driving back the Turkish cavalry that attempted 
to dispute their passage, secured the command of the 
summits which overlooked the exit, and formed a camp. 
In the mean time, other corps of Infidels had issued 
from concealment, and manned the summits on the 

near the scene of Manuel's defeat Mvriokephalon was probably at Subaahi, 
but Hamilton thinks that Silbium (Subleon) was situated ihere.^JUaeareke$ in 
Atia Minor, Pontus, and Armenia, iL 865. 


southern side of the valley wherever the road compelled a. d. 

the Christians to approach the rocks. The right wing * 

of the Byzantine army, commanded by Baldwin, the 
brother of the empress, was attacked in unfavourable 
ground, where it was cut off from the rest of the army 
by the long train of baggage-waggons, and, unable 
either to draw out its ranks to retreat or to receive 
any assistance, it was overwhelmed by the Turks, who 
descended from the heights : Baldwin and the bravest 
officers were slain, and the whole corps destroyed. 
Encouraged by this success, the victorious Turks seized 
the baggage-waggons, and employed them to close up 
the road, while they opened a communication with 
their countrymen placed in ambuscade among the 
ravines on the north side of the valley. The Turks 
then attacked the central division of the army, where 
the emperor conmianded in person, surrounded by the 
imperial guard. The officers in vain attempted to 
form their troops, for they could find no space to charge 
the enemy. The narrow valley was blocked up by the 
sudden stoppage of the line of march. Waggons, 
cattle, cavalry, and infantry were soon crowded to- 
gether in the wildest confusion. The heavy-armed 
Byzantine lancers, which in an open field could have 
swept the Turkish hordes before them, stood useless 
amidst the overturned carriages and slaughtered oxen. 
The rear was now vigorously assailed, and fresh squad- 
rons of the Mohammedans issued from the branches of 
the great valley to attack the flanks. Defence and 
ffight were equally hopeless; the slaughter was im- 
mense, and the emperor, perplexed by the extent of the 
calamity, ceased to give any farther orders, but fought 
to deliver himself with his own sword like a common 
soldier. Some faithful followers kept close to him, and 
at last, by a desperate charge, he opened a passage 
through the enemy, and escaped with a few attendants. 


BOOK III. He had been recognised by the Turks, who eagerly 

cb^u^ sought to make him prisoner, and his armour was deeply 

stained with blood, and bore the mark of many a blow, 

before he gained the camp of his adyanced guard at ike 

issue of the defile. 

When Manud's bodily exertions ceased, his mental 
sufferings commenced. On calling for a drink of 
water, he could only obtain it from the stream in the 
valley, which was stained with blood : he turned away 
with loathing, and as he poured it on the ground, ex- 
claimed, " This is horrible 1 it is the blood of Christians f 
but an officer standing near, to whom the recent dis- 
aster seemed a natural consequence of the emperor's 
inconsiderate rashness, coolly observed, " Never mind, 
emperor 1 you have often drained Christian blood 
while you were expending the treasures extorted from 
your subjects/' Shortly after, a party of mules, laden 
with treasure, was overtaken by the Turks within 
sight of the camp ; and as the Infidels deliberately 
cut open the money-bags, and began to divide the 
spoil, Manuel called to the troops to saUy out and 
divide the treasure among themselves. But he was 
again rebuked for thus endangering the safety of his 
remaining soldiers. The same officer rudely exclaimed, 
" Tour majesty would have done well to leave thie 
treasure in the possession of your subjects; but it is 
better the Turks should now carry it off and retire 
with it, than that it should be recovered by the blood 
of your surviving troops, merely to excite them to 
assail us with greater vigour.'* The emperor felt the 
justice of the rebuke, and the Turks carried off the 

The rear of the army was commanded by Androni- 
cus Koutostephanos, and that experienced general, with 
a small body of men whom he had rallied round him, 
succeeded, by a well-combined series of attacks on the 


Turks, in forcing his way through the whole length of 
the valley, and reached the camp of the adyanced 
guard in the evening. His success afforded the strongest 
proof that the terrible disaster of the army was caused 
by the incapacity of Manuel as a general, rather than 
by the superior tactics of the Turkish force, or the 
insuperable difficulties of the ground. The conduct of 
Manuel, after the defeat, was as disgraceful as his 
military ignorance during the battle. He proposed to 
save his own person by flight, leaving the generals to 
conduct the retreat of the remains of his army as they 
should think fit. But Koutostephanos boldly opposed 
this arrangement, which had probably been suggested 
by some of the courtiers who would have accompanied 
the emperor, and who therefore persuaded Manuel 
that it was his duty to preserve the person of a Boman 
emperor from death or captivity at any sacrifice. There 
was as much sound policy as cowardice in the advice, 
for as Manuel had only an infant son, the danger of 
anarchy in the empire would have been great had he 
fallen. But it was now too late to make such reflections, 
and the remonstrances of Koutostephanos, who pointed 
out that the emperor's departure would cause the im- 
mediate dissolution of the army, and allow the Turks 
to advance to the shores of the Bosphorus without 
opposition, induced Manuel to abandon his disgraceful 

The condition of the Byzantine troops proved to be 
much better than it appeared at the moment of the 
defeat. A considerable army of veterans had reached 
the camp in safety, and though they were far inferior 
in numbers to the Turkish squadrons that surrounded 
them, they felt themselves still superior to their enemy 
in a fair field of battle. They were no longer encum- 
bered with a train of baggage to impede their move- 
ments, and they were consequently enabled to choose 

A. D. 



BOOK in. their point of attack. On the other hand, the Turkish 
^ ^"'* '' army was disorganised by its victory, which had put 
the auxiliaries and nomade tribes in possession of so 
much booty that they were too much occupied in secur- 
ing their own gains to pay attention to the Byzantine 
army. The wary sultan, who saw the numbers of his 
troops rapidly decreasing, determined to treat of peace 
with the emperor while his enemies were stiU under 
the influence of the panic caused by their disaster. 
On the day after the battle he sent an envoy to the 
imperial camp, and Manuel readily agreed to all the 
terms proposed by Kilidy-Arslan. He engaged to 
destroy the fortifications he had recently erected at 
DorylsBum and Subleon, and to cede to the Turks all 
the country they had colonised during his reign. The 
Byzantine army then commenced its retreat, but many 
independent bands of Turkomans hung on its flanks, 
and molested it by desultory attacks. The first day's 
march led the army over the field of slaughter, where 
the extent of Manuel's folly was forced on his atten- 
tion by the most revolting aspect of heaps of unburied 
bodies. The surviving troops were soon placed in good 
quarters at Chonae and Philadelphia. Subleon, which 
was in the neighbourhood, was immediately dismantled 
and abandoned ; but in a short time the emperor gained 
sufficient courage to act a dishonourable part, and vio- 
late the engagements he had entered into to save him- 
self and his army. He refused to destroy the fortifica- 
tions of DorylsBum.^ This caused the renewal of the war. 

^ Nicetas gives a minute account of the battle of Myriokepbalon, and 
there is a carious letter of Manuel's to our Henry II. preserved by Roger of 
Hoveden, a contemporary writer. It seems that some English nobles and 
knights who had joined ManueFs army had distinguished themselves in the 
battle, and some had fallen. Has any family history preserved the memory 
of their deeds, or recorded their names 1— Nicetas, 115 ; Rogeri Hottden 
AnnaUi; Rerwn AnaUearum 6oriptore9 pott Bedam, Saville, Franoof., 1601, 
p. 554. Not having had it in my power to purchase Saville s collection, I am 
indebted to the kindness of my fHend Mr F. C. Penrose, the author of the' great 
work on the principles of Athenian architecture, for a transcript of Manuel's 

TURKISH WAB, A.D. 1177. 241 

The sultan opened the campaign of 1177 by sending a. d. 

an anny of twenty-four thousand men into the Byzan- 
tine territory, with orders to lay waste the country as 
far as the sea, and bring back from the coast some 
salt-water, some sea-sand, and the oars of an imperial 
galley. This army spread over the rich vaUey of the 
Mseander, gained possession of Tralles and Antiocheia 
by capitulation, took Louma and Pentecheira by storm, 
and laid waste the country to the sea-shore. But as it 
was returning, laden with other booty besides the salt- 
water, the sea-sand, and the oars which the sultan was 
so anxious to see, it was attacked on the banks of the 
Mssander by John Vatatzes, and completely defeated. 
This victory restored the character and courage of the 
Byzantine troops.^ 

The last military exploit of Manuel was a rapid 
march to relieve Claudiopolis, which was closely be- 
sieged by another Turkish army. His approach caused 
the enemy to raise the siege. Both the emperor and 
sultan being now satisfied that they were wasting the 
resources of their dominions in unprofitable hostilities, 
they entered into negotiations which soon led to the 
conclusion of peace. 

The mind of Manuel never recovered from the shock 
his pride had received at the battle of Myriokephalon. 
The wounds and bruises appeared to affect his body in 
a very trifling degree, but he became melancholy, and 
his health gradually declined. His family affairs now 
forced themselves on his attention, and he was sur- 
prised to find that he had allowed his beautiful daugh- 
ter Maria to attain the age of thirty without celebrating 
her marriage, though she had been betrothed to Bela 

^ Nicetas says the Turkish general Atapak crossed the Mseander on his 
shield, but was overtaken and slain, p. 126. Manuel was said to have thirty 
arrows sticking in his shield when he reached the c^mp of his advanced guard. 
The shields of the leading men must, therefore^ at this time, have been very 
large, light, and of a concave form. 




BOOK in. Ill, king of Hungary, and asked in marriage by the 
cbji^s. jjjjjp^pQp Frederic Barbarossa as a wife for his son 
Henry. In the month of March 1078, her marriage 
was celebrated with Rayner, son of the Marquess of 
Montferrat, a youth only seventeen years old ; and at 
the same time Alexius, the emperor's son by Mary of 
Antioch, who was in his eleventh year, was married 
to Agnes, daughter of Louis VII. of France, who was 
only seven years old. Alexius and Agnes received 
the imperial crown, and were proclaimed emperor and 

Manuel displayed during his last illness aU the defi- 
ciencies of an ill-regulated and undisciplined mind. 
Though confident in his faith and orthodoxy, he placed 
great dependence on the predictions of astrologers, and 
while his strength was rapidly declining he allowed 
these impostors to persuade him that the stars an- 
nounced that he should still reign with glory for four- 
teen years. But in the month of September he became 
suddenly aware that his end was near: feeling his own 
pulse, he sighed deeply, struck his thigh with his hand, 
and ordered his attendants to bring him instantly the 
habit of a monk. In a few minutes he was divested 
of the imperial robes, and clad in a monachal garb 
which proved much too short for his tall figure. He 
expired, on the 24th of September 1180, at the age of 
fifty-eight, after a reign of thirty-seven years, and with 
him the power and glory of the Byzantine empire 
perished. No sovereign of the Eastern Empire had 
possessed more absolute power. His reign was undis- 
turbed by rebellion, and the circumstances of the age 
allowed the greatest latitude for social and political 
reforms. Men's minds were in a state of fermentation 
in western Europe ; and though Roman political self- 

' Nicetaa, 111. William of Tyre (lib. xxii., c. 4, Bongars, 1018) passed seven 
months at Constantinople, and was present at these marriages. 


sujQBciency and Greek ecclesiastical orthodoxy kept the 
population of the Eastern Empire in a comparatively 
torpid state, the necessity of making some great changes 
to prevent the decline of society was generally felt. Yet, 
while the Latin Christians were actively advancing in 
their progressive improvements, the Greeks remained 
stationary and conservative. In the West, the Crusades 
produced a revolution in ideas as well as in property. 
The popes made a bold attempt to constitute them- 
selves the centre of all dominion in Europe, under the 
pretext of restraining the tyranny of kings. Liberty, 
not yet trammelled by the prejudices of Roman law nor 
overpowered by the authority of despotic centralisation, 
made a noble effort in the north of Italy to unite 
municipal independence with political order. There 
can, therefore, be no doubt that, if the Emperor Manuel 
had possessed a mind capable of understanding the 
events which were passing before his eyes, without allow- 
ing his judgment to be obscured by traditions founded 
on social contingencies that no longer existed, he might 
have reformed the administration and laws of his em- 
pire, and laid the foundation of social improvements 
sufficiently extensive to have awakened the Greeks 
from the civil and ecclesiastical torpor into which their 
minds had fallen. By vigorous reforms, such as Leo 
III. had adopted at the commencement of the eighth 
century, Manuel could, in all probability, have restored 
vital power to the Byzantine empire, but he clung with 
conservative prejudices to a political and ecclesiastical 
order of things from which the life had departed. The 
consequence was, that the crisis during which reform 
was practicable passed away, and the empire putrefied 
into a mass of political corruption. 

A. D. 


Ch. fi. I 4. 

" Court nrrBionsi and MiBcon>noT o» thi buliko olasbb— AimBomouB 


TioN— Rbbbllion of Ctpbus— A Sicilian abmt inyaoeb thb xicfibb— 
Taking of THBaaALONiCA^-MuBDEB of Andbonicub. 

The latter years of Manners life effaced the lessons 
of prudence inculcated by his father. Following the 
guidance of his passions instead of his judgment, he 
had selected subservient courtiers to act as his minis- 
ters of state, so that, on his deathbed, it was not in his 
power to place his son under the guardianship of an 
independent-minded counsellor like his father's friend 
Axouchos. As soon as Manuel was dead, every mem- 
ber of the imperial family, which was very numerous, 
aspired at the office of prime-minister; the court was 
thrown into a state of revolution, and the administra- 
tion became a scene of anarchy. Unfortunately, no 
individual, who from his rank could pretend to the 
regency during the minority of Alexius II., possessed 
that moral rectitude of character which commands 
universal respect. Every one knew that his rivals were 
as worthless as himself. All history testifies the im- 
portance of moral character in political contests; yet, 
strange to say, politicians and statesmen appear rarely 
to have fully appreciated its practical value. 

Alexius was only thirteen years old at his father's 
death. His education was from that moment utterly 
neglected. His mother, Maria of Antioch, in the first 
paroxysms of her grief, was so alarmed at her unpro- 
tected position, amidst an unprincipled nobility, that 
she retired into a monastery, and took the name of 
Xene. Alexius Comnenus, a grandson of the Emperor 
John IL, who held the rank of protosevastos, secured 


to himself the oJG&ce of prime-minister ; and in order a. d. 

to strengthen his influence he persuaded the empress ' 

to quit her retirement and appear again at court, 
where her beauty, gaiety of heart, and sweetness of 
manner, gave her considerable power over the young 
nobility. Her steady support of the protosevastos, 
whose arrogance rendered him extremely unpopular, 
exposed Maria to many calumnies ; and in spite of his 
age, personal defects, and disgusting effeminacy, it 
was generally believed that a criminal attachment 
induced her to maintain him in office. We must call 
to mind the prevalence of calumny in Byzantine 
history, the proneness of courtiers to employ calumny 
as an efficient weapon in their party contests, the 
readiness of the Greeks to hate Maria for her Latin 
descent, and the universal disposition of the people in a 
despotic government to speak evil of their superiors, 
before we admit the corruption that reigned in the 
court of Constantinople as a presumption of Maria's 

Though the protosevastos held the reins of govern- 
ment, he was unable to repress the seditious move- 
ments of the aristocracy : some nobles intrigued to 
drive him from his post ; others threatened to oppose 
him unless he silenced their opposition by bestowing 
on them high rank and lucrative offices. The citizens 
of Constantinople, being without a political organisation 
that entitled them to declare their opinions in public, 
were a mere mob, led away by every prejudice and 
rumour of the moment. The lowest of the population, 
consisting of men collected from every province of the 
empire, and every trading city of the East, were always 

1 Compare Nicetas, 147 and 158, and William of Tyre, book xxii. chap. 11 ; 
Bongara, 1023. Nicetas gives a very unfavourable account of the personal 
appearance of Alexius, who was compelled to devote much time to we toilet 
in order to conceal his defects, and appear young. He was the son of Andro- 
nious, the second son of the Emperor John II., who died at Attalia in the 
year 1141, or early in 1 142. 


BooKiii. eager for sedition as a means of pillage. Such a 
JL^ society, vibrating between servility and rebellion, and 
guided by personal ambition and individual avarice, 
was utterly deaf to the voice of patriotism. 

For about a year and a half the young emperor 
was allowed to amuse himself with hunting and gam- 
bling, whUe the whole court was occupied with plots 
and party intrigues. At last the Princess Maria, the 
emperor's sister, thought the moment favourable for 
driving the protosevastos from power by a popular 
sedition. But Alexius had taken care to secure the 
support of the numerous corps of foreign mercenaries 
in the capital ; and Maria was compelled to retreat, 
with her young husband, the Caesar, and her armed 
partisans, into the precincts of St Sophia's. Many, 
however, rallied to her standard, and a bloody battle 
was fought in the streets of Constantinople. The pro- 
tosevastos feared to pursue the sister of his sovereign 
to extremity; and the Patriarch eflfected a compromise 
between the hostile parties, leaving matters as they 
were before the insurrection. This state of things 
could not continue long, and a darker storm was now 
gathering. All the discontented turned their eyes 
towards Andronicus, the adventurous and unprinci- 
pled cousin of the Emperor Manuel, whose strange 
personal exploits gave him a degree of fame he little 
deserved, but whose vices were now forgotten in con- 
sequence of his long absence from court. He had 
passed the latter years of Manuel's life as an exile in 
Paphlagonia; his reputation for courage and ability 
was great ; time was supposed to have moderated the 
violence of his passions ; and his hypocritical piety 
imposed on the superstitious Greeks, who thought that 
the saints and holy images he adored could eflface, even 
from his conscience, the black stains of murder and 
incest. All ranks concurred in soliciting his presence 

MIJBDER OP ALEXroS II., A.D. 1183. 247 

at Constantinople ; and he soon approached the capital, a. d. 

declaring that his object was to deliver the young ^' 

emperor from the hands of the evil counsellors who 
surrounded him. His march met with little opposition 
on the part of the government ; and the protosevastos 
Alexius was easily driven from power, and condemned 
to lose his sight. The Latins in Constantinople, who 
were attached to his interests through the support 
given him by the Empress Maria of Antioch, were 
massacred by the Greek populace with circumstances 
of the greatest cruelty ; nor did Andronicus make any 
eflFort to put a stop to these murders. The property 
of all the Latins was pillaged, their houses destroyed ; 
and men, women, children, and priests, torn from the 
sanctuaries to which they had fled, were barbarously 
slain. Many of the Franks, nevertheless^ escaped to 
their ships in the port, and endeavoured to repay 
themselves for the losses they had sustained by plun- 
dering the coasts of the Propontis and the islands of 
Greece. This bloody tumult greatly widened the 
breach between the Latins and the Greeks, and in- 
flamed the western nations of Europe with a thirst 
for revenge that soon filled the ^gean Sea with Frank 
pirates.! It was avenged twenty years after by the 
Latin conquest of Constantinople. 

It is needless to give a detailed account of the 
crimes of Andronicus ; he used his unlimited power 
as all prudent persons must have foreseen that he 
would use it. The Princess Maria and her husband 
the Csesar were poisoned. The Empress Maria of 
Antioch was condemned to death for what was 
termed treasonable correspondence with her brother- 
in-law, Bela III, king of Hungary, and strangled. 
Andronicus Koutostephanos, the best general in the 

> Nioetas, 162. William of Tyre, book xxiL chap. 12, 13 ; Bongars, 1024. 


BOOK in. empire, was deprived of sight. John Vatatzes, who 
^' " *^' defeated the Turks at the Mseander, died shortly after 
raising the standard of revolt. The Patriarch Theodo- 
sius was removed from office, and Basilios K^materos 
placed at the head of the Greek church, on his promis- 
ing to do everything that Andronicus might desire. 
Andronicus then ordered himself to be proclaimed 
emperor, and immediately took precedence of Alexius 
II., who was soon after deposed, on the pretext that a 
single emperor was necessary in order to re-establish 
order in the empire. The unfortunate youth, who 
was not yet fifteen years old, was strangled with a 
bowstring in the prison to which he had been com- 
mitted ; and when Andronicus examined the corpse 
in order to be assured of his death, he kicked it care- 
lessly, and exclaimed, " Thy father was a villain, thy 
mother a prostitute, and thou a fool. "^ 

The corrupted state of society had brought the 
Byzantine empire to the verge of ruin ; Andronicus, 
who was no incorrect type of the higher classes in the 
nation over which he reigned, accelerated its destruc- 
tion. The nobility and the higher clergy were the 
partners of his guilt, and often the agents of his crimes ; 
while the citizens of Constantinople were generally the 
delighted spectators of his greatest cruelties. 

Andronicus was the grandson of the Emperor Alexius 
I. ; Isaac, the younger brother of the Emperor John 
II., was his father. It has been noticed that Isaac's 
rash and imsteady temper induced liim to quit his 
brother's court, and reside for a time with the Sultan 
of Iconium. His children were more violent and vicious 
than their father. The manner in which his eldest 
son John joined the Turks, and abjured the Christian 
religion, has also been recounted.^ The vanity of the 

^ Nioetos, 176. > See ante, pagee 160, 161, and 176. 



Greeks, at a later period, sought consolation for their a. d. 

', ^ n • 1 • T lion 11 

actual sufferings by forging a tale concerning the mar- 
riage of this Byzantine renegade with a daughter of 
the Seljouk sultan of Iconium ; and from the offspring 
of this imaginary alliance it was pretended that the 
Othoman dynasty was descended. Andronicus was 
Isaac's second son ; his expressive countenance, hand- 
some figure, and tall robust frame were rendered 
doubly attractive by a singularly sweet and powerful 
voice, an easy-flowing elocution, and a graceful man- 
ner. These advantages, joined to daring courage and 
great skill in military exercises, made him for some 
time a favourite with his cousin the Emperor Manuel. 
His unprincipled conduct at last estranged them ; and 
his life was subsequently marked by a series of the 
strangest adventures. No wandering Crusader nor 
nomade Turk ever lived a wilder or more romantic 
life than the princely Andronicus. 

Early in the reign of Manuel he was taken prisoner 
by the Turks, as he had wandered from the emperor's 
escort on a hunting party while crossing the Turkish 
territory in Phrygia. During the time he remained a 
captive at the court of Sultan Massoud he cultivated 
the acquaintance of the leading Turks, into whose 
society he was introduced by his Mussulman brother ; 
and he learned the Turkish language, which was often 
useftd to him in his future adventures. Manuel was 
accused of having neglected to pay his ransom, from 
jealousy of his skill in military exercises ; but after 
his return, he saved his life by interposing his own 
arm to ward off a blow aimed at his cousin's head.^ 
Andronicus was twice intrusted by the Emperor 
Manuel with the command of the army in Cilicia ; 
on both occasions he was shamefully defeated by the 

^ See arUey page 180. 


BooKHi. Armenian prince Thoros. Subsequently he was ap- 
^ "^ * ^ ' pointed governor of Belgrade and Branisova^ the two 
principal Byzantine fortresses on the Hungarian firon- 
tier ; and either his negligence or treachery exposed 
the empire to serious danger. His public conduct at 
last completely alienated the aflfection of Manuel 

Though addicted to pleasure, and leading a life of 
the most shameless profligacy, Andronicus kept aloof 
from the rest of the court, and always assumed a 
marked superiority. Though no one was more eager 
in the chase, he never mixed in the noisy revels of 
the nobility, and showed himself an enemy to the 
pleasures of the table. He was a sober and abstemi- 
ous profligate : his dinner was generally a single dish 
of roast meat ; and after the fatigues of the longest 
day his supper frequently consisted of a crust of bread 
and a goblet of wine. But he indulged his two 
favourite passions, love and ambition, without respect 
for Divine or human laws. No principle of duty, and 
no bond of gratitude, restrained him when he thought 
power was within his grasp; and when inflamed by 
lust, he knew no ties of morality or religion. Has 
amours were often carried on in the circle of his 
nearest relatives ; and in the opinion of his country- 
men, he, as well as the Emperor Manuel, was stained 
with the crime of incest. Eudocia, the daughter of 
Manuel's elder brother Andronicus, was the paramour 
of his youth, while her sister Theodora was the mis- 
tress of her uncle the emperor. Another Theodora, 
also the emperor's niece, being the daughter of his 
brother Isaac, became his mistress at a later period, 
when she was the widow of Baldwin III., king of 
Jerusalem. Both these ladies shared his company 
with his lawful wife, and divided his affections with 
a crowd of actresses and dancing girls. The loves of 
Eudocia and Andronicus excited more anger in her 


family than the incestuous intercourse of her sister 
with the emperor ; the rank of the sinner hid the 
crime of the blacker dye. After vainly endeavouring 
to separate the criminals, John, the brother of Eudo- 
cia, and Cantacuzenos, her brother-in-law, resolved to 
avenge their family by assassinating Andronicus. The 
court was encamped at Pelagonia in palaces of canvass, 
like those which may be stiU seen when an Oriental 
sovereign takes the field in state. As Andronicus 
was in the habit of visiting his cousin at unseasonable 
hours, a band of armed men was stationed to murder 
him as he quitted Eudocia. The lady's spies warned 
her of the danger ; and while her female attendants 
were making a noise to bring in lights, Andronicus cut 
a small passage with his sword in the back of the tent, 
and, creeping between the ropes and pegs, gained the 
canvass wall that enclosed Eudocia's tents. This he also 
cut through, and crept away unobserved. 

The political conduct of Andronicus, on several 
occasions, excited just suspicions. He was accused of 
holding treasonable intercourse with the King of Jeru- 
salem, with the Sultan of Iconium, and with the King 
of Hungary ; and there can be little doubt that he was 
only prevented from making an attempt to dethrone 
Manuel, by the superior political ability and the sys- 
tematic energy of the emperor. Andronicus was so 
convinced of Manners personal superiority that he 
appears to have designed assassinating him. At an 
imperial hunting-party he presented himself, uninvited, 
with the numerous train of armed followers which the 
great nobles of the Byzantine empire maintained in 
their palaces; the emperor's escort was too strong 
for any attempt at open violence ; but during the 
night Andronicus was found disguised in an Italian 
dress, armed with a dagger, lurking near the tent of 
Manuel. His suspicious behaviour, scandalous conduct. 

A. D. 


BOOK la and bitterly satirical expressions, gave his enemies an 
"*"' opportunity of bringing bo many charges against him 
that the emperor at length committed him to prison. 

Andronicus passed nine years of his life in confine- 
ment ; his escapes from imprisonment and his captures 
were as singular as his crimes, and mark the restless 
activity of his mind, his self-possession, and his rash- 
ness. During his first imprisonment, chance led him 
to discover a secret recess in the tower where he was 
confined. After laying up a store of provisions, he 
withdrew into this retreat, and every search was made 
for him in vain. At last his wife was arrested as privy 
to his escape, and confined in the tower from which it 
was supposed he had escaped. On retiring into her 
bedchamber, the spectre of her husband made its 
appearance. He soon informed her how matters stood, 
and made arrangements with her for continuing his 
conceahnent, and obtaining a supply of provisions. The 
two prisoners lived most affectionately together, and 
their son John was the fruit of this period of domestic 
felicity. The guards were careless in watching the 
princess, whom they believed was their only prisoner, 
so that Andronicus at last found means of escaping. 
He was, however, soon recognised, arrested at Melangia 
in Bithynia, and again committed to prison, where he 
was loaded with chains. He was fortunate enough to 
escape a second time, by procuring an impression of the 
keys of his dungeon in wax. His son Manuel contrived 
to get new keys made from these models, and to con- 
vey them to his father, with a coil of ropes, in an 
amphora of wine. On a dark and rainy night Andro- 
nicus opened his prison doors unobserved, and reached 
the garden of the imperial palace, from the outer walls 
of which he descended at the place where John Zimiskes 
had mounted to murder Nicephorus ; there he found a 
boat waiting to receive him. He reached Anchialus in 


safety, and Pupakes, whose gallant conduct at the siege 
of Corfu has been already mentioned, owing him 
gratitude for some personal obligations, famished him 
with the means of continuing his flight.^ Andronicus 
was again tantalised with the fear of returning to a 
worse captivity than that from which he had escaped. 
He was recognised by a party of VaUachians, who 
resolved to deliver him up to the emperor. From their 
hands he escaped by stratagem. Counterfeiting a 
violent diarrhoea and excessive weakness, he persuaded 
his guards to make frequent halts ; and when evening 
approached, and he was allowed to retire for a short 
distance from the road, he fixed his cloak and hat on 
the stick with which he had apparently supported him- 
self with difficulty, and plunged into a neighbouring 
forest, from whence he ultimately reached the Russian 
principality of Halicz or Galicia.^ 

The share Pupakes took in aiding the flight of his 
benefactor was discovered, and Manuel, forgetting the 
former services of the valiant Turk, ordered liim to be 
publicly scourged, and led through the streets of Con- 
stantinople with a rope round his neck, preceded by a 
crier, who proclaimed at intervals, " This man is dis- 
graced and punished for having aided the enemies of 
the emperor!'* To which Pupakes himself always 
added, " There is no dishonour in the punishment, for 
it was incurred in assisting a benefactor instead of 
betraying him.'' After this indignity Pupakes quitted 
the empire, and returned to the possessions of his uncle, 
who was an emir in the Seljouk empire of Iconium, 

' See antey page 207. 

' Nicetas, though an avTAimiSf requires to be read with great caution, in 
order to separate his meaning from his rhetoric In one page he tells us 
Andronicus was ten feet high, 1 64 ; in another, he recounts how Andronicus 
acted the part of a fugitive slave to the life, 85. Now, as fugitive slaves ten 
feet high cannot have been a common apparition among the Constantinopolitans, 
we may conclude that Nicetas in the one passage only meant to say that 
Andronicus was a very tall man, but his rhetoric got the better of his meaning. 

A. D. 


BOOK in. where Manuel met him once again charged with a 
"'" mission from his uncle.^ 

Andronicus, who could neither conmiand his temper 
nor restrain his tongue in prosperity, was good- 
humoured and fair-spoken in adversity. At the court 
of Yaroslaf the prince of Galicia he became a great 
favourite, and was soon the constant companion of the 
prince. They hunted the urus together, and formed 
plans for invading the Byzantine empire.' Manuel at 
last considered that there was so much danger to be 
apprehended from the continuance of his cousin's resi- 
dence in Galicia, that he granted him a full pardon, and 
induced him to return to Constantinople. 

It was after this flight that Andronicus was intrusted 
with the chief conmiand in Cilicia for the second time. 
His conduct was that of a madman, and he marched 
to attack the Armenian prince Thoros with his army 
drawn up in a new and ill-judged manner. The 
experienced Armenian took immediate advantage of 
his folly, and broke his troops in many places, scattering 
the Byzantine army in utter confusion. Nicetas pre- 
tends that when Andronicus saw the defeat of his army, 
he conceived the hope of redeeming his blunders by an 
act of daring valour. He charged Thoros with his 
lance, though he was surrounded by a numerous staff", 
and the Armenian had barely time to interpose his 
shield between his breast and his enem/s lance when 
he was hurled from his horse. Andronicus, abandoning 
his lance, which he believed was quivering in the heart 
of Thoros instead of being only fixed in his shield, burst 
through the Armenian guards, striking every man who 
encountered him to the ground with his mace. But 
before he could rally his own fugitive battalions, Thoros, 
who had risen from the ground imhurt, resumed the 

^ CiimamuB, 114. 

' Nioetas, 214, calls the urus « ZoumproB ;" the Poliah word k Zubr. 


direction of the pursuit, prevented the scattered divi- 
sions of the Byzantine army from attempting a junction, 
and compelled Andronicus to seek safety in precipitate 

After this disgraceful defeat, it is probable that 
Andronicus was immediately superseded ; but as both 
his liberty and his eyesight were in danger had he 
returned to Constantinople, he collected all* the money 
he was able, and, quitting Cilicia with a splendid suite 
before the arrival of his successor, he presented himself 
at the court of Reynold of Antioch. Here he soon fell 
in love with the Princess Philippa, the sister of the 
Empress Maria, and inspired her with a passion so vio- 
lent that she set at naught the counsels of her family, 
and consented to a marriage with her debauched lover. 
It is not easy to say how long Andronicus remained at 
Antioch, but he became at last alarmed lest he should 
be arrested by order of the Emperor Manuel in that 
vassal principality, and he fled to Jerusalem, where his 
passions soon involved him in new difficulties. At 
Jerusalem he met Theodora, the daughter of his cousin 
Isaac, whom he had not seen since her childhood. She 
was now the widow of Baldwin HI. of Jerusalem, and 
enjoyed the admiration and esteem of all the Frank 
nobles on account of her beauty, talents, and prudence. 
Andronicus became deeply enamoured with his fair 
cousin, and she returned his passion with equal vio- 
lence. The state of society among the Latin Christians 
in Jerusalem was as debauched as at the court of Con- 
stantinople, so that the lovers carried on their amours 
with little affectation of secresy.^ But when Manuel 
heard of this new insult to his brother's family, he sent 
messages to the Syrian barons, offering great rewards 

^ See the Hittoria Huroidymitana of James de Viiriaco (Vitri), book i.. 
chap. 69, 70, 71 ; Bongani, 1086, &a, for a picture of the depraved state of 
society in Palestine. 

A. D. 



BOOK m. to any one who should seize Andronicus and put out 
' his eyes ; at the same time he requested Amaury, king 

of Jerusalem, with whom he had a close alliance, to 
arrest the fugitive. Theodora obtained information of 
these communications in time to warn Andronicus of 
his danger, and as there was no longer any hope of 
safety among the Christians, she consented to fly with 
him to the Turks. After visiting Damascus, and wan- 
dering for some time in Mesopotamia and Iberia, they 
settled at Koloneia» in Chaldia, where Andronicus, 
assembling a band of Turkish mercenaries, of rene- 
gades and refugees, formed a camp for making incur- 
sions into the empire, and carrying off Christians to 
sell as slaves. From this brigand life he derived a 
considerable revenue, and it is strange to find that the 
wretch who had maintained himself for years as a 
slave-dealer was subsequently invited to ascend the 
throne of Constantinople. In this infamous exile 
Theodora bore him two sons. The Greek churqh, it is 
true, excommunicated him for living with his cousin's 
daughter, and making slaves of its flock ; but Andro- 
nicus, who despised Divine laws, had no fear of eccle- 
siastical censures, from which either the possession of 
political power or the payment of a large sum of money 
could at any time release him. 

The evils he inflicted on the Byzantine territory 
were so great, that Manuel repeatedly sent troops with 
orders to pursue him incessantly and capture his strong- 
holds ; but these operations were attended with little 
result until Nicephorus Paleologos, the governor of 
Trebizond, succeeded in capturing the fortress in which 
Theodora had sought safety. Her captivity induced 
Andronicus to negotiate his own pardon, and he re- 
ceived permission to present himself to the emperor. 
As he was now seriously alarmed for his future safety, 
he adopted every artifice his crafty mind suggested for 


flattering the vanity of Manuel. At a public audience, a. d. 
as soon as he entered the hall of reception, he fell on " °^^^^ ' 
his knees, and drew from under his clothes a heavy 
iron chain, made fast to a collar round his neck ; then, 
holding up his hands, he implored pardon from the 
emperor, weeping, protesting lus repentance, and quot- 
ing passages from Scripture. Though a bitter snecrer, 
he was a profound hypocrite and an admirable actor ; 
so that, in spite of his previous conduct, he more than 
once in his life persuaded every one who beheld him 
that he had become an altered man. The Emperor 
Manuel, on seeing his cousin's abasement, requested 
him to stand, and assured him of fiill pardon ; but 
Andronicus continued his hypocritical wailings until 
he induced one of the courtiers to drag him by the 
chain to the emperor's footstool. Some years later, 
when Andronicus was dragged through the streets of 
Constantinople, to perish in a frightful manner, men 
remembered that Isaac Angelos, his successor, had been 
the courtier who dragged him to Manuel's feet. After 
receiving his pardon, Andronicus was ordered to reside 
at Oenaion in Pontus. 

From this place of exile he had watched the pro- 
gress of the intrigues in the Byzantine court after 
Manuel's death, and he easily found partisans among 
the dissatisfied courtiers, who demanded his presence 
in the capital. His agents, however, were also em- 
ployed in gaining the people ; for wicked and worth- 
less as Andronicus was, he perceived that the unprin- 
cipled behaviour of the court had excited a deep-rooted 
aversion to the whole family of Comnenos, and that, 
unless the people of the capital should declare boldly 
in his favour, the mercenary troops of the government 
might defeat his attacks. He therefore aflfected to pay 
the greatest attention to the last oath he had publicly 
taken in the Byzantine court, in which he had pro- 



BOOK ni. mised never to conceal from the emperor anjrthing 
^ ''"'* contrary to the interests of the empire, but as soon as 
such a thing might come to his knowledge to oppose 
it with all his power. This oath was now made a pre- 
text for writing to the young emperor, and censuring 
the measures of the protosevastos; and the letters were 
of course composed rather with reference to the effect 
they were likely to produce on the public than on the 
court. His remonstrances were of course useless, so 
he resolved to save the empire by force. The treachery 
of Andronicus Angelos, the general of the imperial 
army, and of Andronicus Koutostephanos, the grand 
admiral, rendered him master of Constantinople. 

Prosperity soon revived aU the evil passions which 
age was supposed to have eradicated from the heart of 
Andronicus. The innate cruelty of his disposition, and 
the unforgiving malice of his depraved feelings^ soon 
revealed themselves in his treatment of the most influ* 
ential nobles. The aristocracy saw its leaders put to 
death on account of the influence they possessed, or 
merely to confiscate their wealth; while the people, 
whose burdens Andronicus lightened, and whose ven- 
geance he gratified, loudly applauded his conduct. 
Angelos and Koutostephanos now saw their error, and 
conspired to drive Andronicus from the post of prime- 
minister, to which their treachery had raised him. The 
plot was discovered, and the brave Koutostephanos 
was arrested with his four sons, and other conspirators, 
all of whom were deprived of sight. The cowardly 
Angelos and his sons escaped. From that time the 
servility of the Byzantine nobles became greater than 
ever, and it only increased the contempt of Andronicus 
for their persons, while, by exciting his distrust, it 
increased his cruelty. John Cantacuzenos, in order to 
ingratiate himself with the tyrannical regent, ill-treated 
one of the eunuchs of the young emperor, who had 


attempted to warn his sovereign of the dangerous 
position of public affairs, and to persuade the prince 
to devote some attention to serious business, instead 
of publicly trifling away his time in idle, expensive, 
and vicious amusements^ which were sure to render 
him unpoptdar. Cantacuzenos struck the eunuch on 
the face in the presence of Andronicus ; but the wily 
old villain, suspecting that this enthusiastic meanness 
covered evil intentions, ordered the eyes of Cantacu- 
zenos to be put out on hearing that he held some 
slight communication with his brother-in-law Constan- 
tine Angelos, who was in confinement on a charge of 

As soon as Andronicus had put to death all those 
who he thought possessed the power of resisting his 
schemes, and accumulated as much wealth in the public 
treasury as would enable him to diminish the public 
burdens, he ascended the throne, and put the young 
Alexius to deatL He now looked forward to the 
tranquil enjoyment of power, and indulged his cruelty 
by putting to death the wealthiest members of the 
aristocracy. Yet so perverted was his character, that 
he could not refrain from insulting the universal feel- 
ings of mankind by outrages which no class could 
pardon. The Patriarch Theodosios was compelled to 
quit his office, because he refused to sanction the mar- 
riage of Alexius and Irene, the incestuous offspring of 
himself and Manuel with the two Theodoras ; but the 
Greek church was at this time in the same demoral- 
ised condition as the Byzantine court, and the marriage 
ceremony was performed by the Archbishop or Patri- 
arch of Bulgaria. 

The nobility were not inclined to submit tamely to 
be decimated ; some were eager to obtain power, some 
were burning to revenge their relations, and some, 
perhaps, were impelled by the duty of avenging the 


260 fiEION OF Ain>BOKI0US I. 

BOOK iiL murder of their lawful prince. Various nobles took 
^"^V^ up arms at Nic8eay Prusa^ and Lopadion before the 
murder of the young Alexius ; but, for a time, fortune 
smiled on the enterprises of the tjrrant, and all these 
rebels were subdued and punished with unheard-of 
cruelty : numbers were hanged on the largest trees, and 
few were dismissed without losing a hand or a foot ; 
even the Bishop of Frusa was deprived of his sight. 
Andronicus Lapardas, one of the generals of the army 
on the frontiers of Hungary who attempted to avenge 
the death of Alexius II., was also taken prisoner and 
deprived of sight. 

Andronicus appears to have formed some general 
plan of improving the civil administration, and reform- 
ing the judicial system, by which he expected to render 
himself popular, and secure the support of the great 
body of the population. He reduced the expenditure 
of the court ; but in rendering it less brilliant, he did 
not render it less vicious. He was too old to find 
pleasure in tournaments and f^tes. He had learned 
moderation in exile, and his habits of self-indulgence 
led him to Uve in a retired manner, even after he 
obtained the throna This mode of life, however, made 
him neglect the amusements of the populace of Con- 
stantinople; and he soon became unpopular with the 
mob, who accused him of avarice in plundering the 
nobles for his own solitary gratification; while, in their 
opinion, it was one of the principal duties of the em- 
peror to preside at the games of the hippodrome, and 
to plan a succession of fetes for the public gratification. 
Old age had rendered Andronicus inactive, and his 
intense selfishness and domineering insolence of dispo- 
sition persuaded him that all mankind would bend to 
his opinions. His first care, as emperor, was to prepare 
for lightening the public burdens by making extensive 
fiscal reforms. He abolished the practice of selling 


official charges, a measure which enabled him to sup- a. d. 
press many useless offices. He selected able and ^ ^"^^^^ - 
experienced lawyers to act as judges, on whom he 
conferred ample salaries &om the public treasury, 
prohibiting them, at the same time, under the severest 
penalties, from extorting money from the people. 
Indeed, it is possible that, if he had been able to con- 
trol the malicious violence of his temper, and if his 
reign had been prolonged, the cultivators of the soil 
throughout the empire might have derived some per- 
manent advantage from his government.^ But his 
personal conduct inflamed the hatred of every class at 
Constantinople, where he was very soon regarded as a 
monster, in whose death all would rejoice. The seclu- 
sion in which he lived concealed from him the change 
that had taken place in the popular mind, and he con- 
tinued to pursue his old course of cruelty, living shut 
up in his palace. His strange behaviour kept the 
attention of the capital fixed on his actions. The 
memory of the murdered Alexius seemed to haunt 
every man's mind but his own. To cahn the super- 
stitious scruples of his instruments, he induced the 
Greek clergy to grant absolution to himself and his 
partisans for having violated their oaths of allegiance 
to Alexius II., thus allowing the church to assume the 
power of pardoning treason and murder. Heretics 
might well say that the Greek church was now more 
corrupt and degraded than the imperial government ; 
for the emperor committed his crimes to gain some 
definite object, but the clergy gratuitously assailed the 

^ Nioetaa, 209, {^ym Andronioiui great praise for his ezertions to abolish the 
practice of plunderiDg shipwrecked Teeeeb which prevailed among the Qreek% 
and idiich preceding emperom had yainly endeaToored to supprees. We hare 
noticed that the Emperor Manuel L, as well as his successors, had inserted a 
clause in the commercial treaties with the Italian republics to put an end to 
this barbarous custom, p. 190 of this Tolume. Andronicus himself would haye 
been astonished at the system of salvage exacted by our law in favour of the 
British navy.—See many cases in the Admiralty Reports. 


BOOK in. principles of morality and religion.^ As an additional 
cii^nji^*. jj^gy2|. ^ ^j^^ feelings of mankind, Andronicus, who bad 
reached the age of seventy, though he still retained 
the appearance of a man of middle age, thought fit to 
marry Agnes of France, the child-widow of his mur- 
dered sovereign. The young empress was only eleven 
years old when she was led to tlie imperial palace by 
the hoary sinner, and placed among a crowd of actresses 
and dancing girls to complete her education. 

The vicious condition of every class of society had 
now undermined the political fabric of the empire. 
Few acknowledged the restraints of duty and religion, 
and the few who did so retired from public life. The 
successful rebellion of a man, almost as depraved, and 
far less able than Andronicus, revealed the facility with 
which the empire might be dismembered. Isaac, 
whose father's name is unknown, but who was the 
nephew of Theodora, queen of Jerusalem, and who 
adopted the name of Comnenus, had been appointed 
governor of Tarsus in the reign of Manuel ; and having 
been taken prisoner by the Armenians of Cilida, was 
delivered from captivity by Andronicus, who author- 
ised him to draw sixty thousand byzants from the 
revenues of Cyprus in order to pay his ransom. Beuben, 
the Prince of Armenian Cilicia, had made over his 
captive to Bohemund III., prince of Antioch, who, on 
receiving payment of half the ransom, allowed Isaac 
to visit Cyprus in order to expedite the collection of 
the remainder. Isaac, on reaching the island, availed 
himself of the authority he had received from Androni- 
cus to dispose of the revenue, to act as governor, and, 
as soon as he could coUect together a body of troops, 
he proclaimed himself emperor, as the only means of 
retaining his power. He equalled the cruelty of 
Andronicus in his public administration. This rebel- 

^ Nicetas, 178. 


lion filled the heart of the tyrant with fear and rage. a. d. 

A prediction declared that a man, whose name com- ' 

menced with the letter I, was destined to deprive him 
of his crown and his life; and this prediction now 
alarmed him, for he had no fleet which he could im- 
mediately despatch with a force sufficient to suppress 
the rebellion. The island of Cyprus was completely 
separated from the Byzantine empire. It was shortly 
after conquered by Richard, king of England, and its 
Greek inhabitants have ever since been subjected to 
foreign domination. 

Constantine Makrodukas and Andronikos Dukas, 
two of the worst agents of the emperor's cruelty, had 
become sureties for the good conduct of Isaac when 
Andronicus granted him the money necessary to pay 
his ransom. Undeterred by any feelings of political 
prudence, the tyrant determined to gratify his revenge 
by a public exhibition of his rage. On Ascension Day 
it was usual for the whole court to pay their respects 
to the sovereign. Andronicus was residing at the 
palace of Philopation, and thither the two sureties of 
the rebel Isaac repaired as suppliants, waiting in the 
inner court, lifting up their hands as petitioners, and 
seekrog to be juc^ed by a tribunal in order to prove 
their innocenca Even the tyrant's most intimate 
friends thought the culprits would escape severe pun- 
ishment. One man alone was intrusted with the order 
for their execution, and instructed how it was to be 
carried into effect. Stephen Aghiochristophorites, the 
agent of many murders, entered the assembly, and, 
taking up a large stone, struck Makrodukas with it, 
calling, at the same time, to all the nobles present who 
honoured the emperor to take stones from a pile placed 
purposely in the court of the palace, and put the 
enemies of their sovereign to death. The imperial 
guards stood by to watch their behaviour, so that none 


BOOK in. dared to appear dilatory. In this strange and barbar- 
^ '*"' ous manner the sureties of the rebel emperor of Cyprus 
were murdered by the servile nobles of Constantinople. 
Worthless as the Byzantine nobility had become, they 
could not conceal their indignation at this insult, and 
Alexius^ the incestuous offspring of Manuel, whom 
Andronicus had married to his own illegitimate child 
Irene, conceived the monstrous idea of mounting the 
throne. His plot was discovered — ^his fellow-conspira- 
tors were put to death in the cruellest manner — ^his 
secretary was burned alive in the hippodrome — ^his 
own eyes were put out — ^and Irene was banished from 
her father's presence for weeping over the misfortune 
of her husband. 

The mad career of Andronicus was now drawing to 
an end. Alexius Comnenos, one of the grand-nephews 
of Manuel, had escaped to the court of William IL, 
king of Sicily, where his account of the state of the 
Byzantine empire agreed so well with the reports which 
were daily brought by recent fugitives^ that the Sicilian 
monarch resolved to support Alexius' pretensions to 
the throne, in the hope of making some valuable con- 
quests for himself. A Sicilian fleet, under the com- 
mand of Tancred, the cousin and successor of William 
IL, and the Admiral Margaritone, with an army com- 
manded by the Counts Eichard d'Acerra and Aldoin, 
entered the Adriatic, and took Dyrrachium by assault, 
after a siege of a few days. The troops marched thence 
by land to attack Thessalonica^ while the fleet circum- 
navigated the Peloponnesus. Andronicus seemed to 
feel little alarm when he heard of this attempt to drive 
him from the throne; he thought that the danger 
could not be great, as his rival's name did not begin 
with I. His second son, John, who had been invested 
with the imperial title, was sent to assemble an army 


to relieve Thessalonica ; and David Conmenos, who a. d. 
commanded in the place, was ordered to defend it to "^"^ ' 
the last The incapacity of David, the disorder that 
reigned in the garrison, and the discontent of the inha- 
bitants, enabled the Norman troops to take Thessa- 
lonica on the 15th of August 1185, after a siege of 
ten days. 

The cruelties committed by the Sicilians after they 
gained possession of Thessalonica, roused the indigna- 
tion of the Byzantine population, and did more to 
arrest their further progress than the troops of Andro- 
nicus. The Latins and Greeks now regarded one 
another as heretics as well as political enemies ; and 
their hostilities were marked by horrors of which we 
may estimate the fearful violence by reflecting on the 
cruelty of the government and populace of Constan- 
tinople, and remembering that it aSbrds the best type 
of the feelings of society in the East. Nicetas furnishes 
us with a dreadfiil picture of the proceedings of the 
Silician army. Nineteen years after, he was himself 
a spectator of similar scenes acted by a Latin army in 
Constantinople. Many of the inhabitants of Thessa- 
lonica were expelled from their houses ; people of rank 
were tortured to compel them to deliver up the trea- 
sures they were supposed to have concealed ; some 
were hung up by the feet and suflfocated by burning 
straw beneath them. Lisult was added to cruelty: 
the altars in the Greek churches were defiled; the 
religious ceremonies of the Greeks were ridiculed; and 
when the priests chaunted their service in the nasal 
melody prevalent in the East, the Norman soldiers 
howled out a chorus in imitation of beaten hounds. 
At last, however, Eustathius, the celebrated Archbishop 
of Thessalonica, by his prudent conduct succeeded in 
conciliating the Sicilian generals, and inducing them 

266 BEIOK OF Ain)B0NI0U8 I. 

BOOK in. to restrain the license of their troops, which they had 

^''"' too long tolerated.^ 

The Sicilian army at last quitted Thessalonica to 
march to Constantinople ; but all ranks were so eager 
for plunder that its progress was slow. Andronicus 
made some dispositions for the defence of his capital ; 
and it was reported that he proposed to put every 
person to death who was imprisoned on a charge of 
treason. The report filled the population of Constan- 
tinople with ala^m, for abnost every family of any 
standing had one of its members in prison ; the nobles 
were rendered desperate by a sense of danger — ^the 
people were indignant at the dismemberment of the 
empire, and at the conquests of the Latins. The tyrant, 
having given his orders to the agents of his cruelty, 
considered that the tranquillity of the capital was 
assured, and retired to enjoy himself with a crowd of 
parasites and courtesans at the palace of Meludion, on 
the shores of the Bosphorus.^ 

The storm that drove him from the throne, and ter- 
minated his existence, burst suddenly on his head from 
a quarter whence it was least expected, Aghiochristo- 
phorites deemed it necessary to arrest Isaac Angelos^ 
though the emperor had such a contempt for his inca- 
pacity and cowardice that he refused to sign an order 
for his condemnation. The minister was therefore 
obliged to make the arrest in person, on his own 
responsibility. When Isaac heard that the terrible 
Aghiochristophorites, who was universally known to 
be the agent of the emperor's greatest cruelties, was in 
the court of his palace, his very cowardice rendered 

^ Eustathius, besides many other learned works, has left us a declamatory 
aooount of the taking of Theasalonica, which gives ns some interesting facts. 
It was first published by Professor TBieL—EutUrthii Optuct^ Tubingen, 1 832; 
and has been reprinted with Leo Orammaticui at Bonn. 

' Many absurd reports oonoeming the cruelty of Andronicus were current 
at this time. It was believed that he wished to roast a &t priest of St Sophia's 
alive, and to serve up his body to his wife.— Nicetas, 201. 


him courageous, for lie derived fury from despair, a. d. 
Instead of submitting tamely, he mounted his horse, "^^^^ ' 
and, rushing at Aghiochristophorites with his drawn 
sword, slew him on the spot. But he had neither the 
ability nor the courage to take any farther nieasures 
for his defence, and he sought an asylum in St Sophia's. 
The absence of the emperor and the death of the mini- 
ster allowed Isaac Angelos to remain unmolested His 
friends ventured to join him; and the people, hearing 
that Aghiochristophorites was slain, rose in rebellion. 
The prisons were broken open, armed bands were 
formed, and Isaac was proclaimed emperor. All the 
nobility now assembled in the church of St Sophia, 
and the crown of Constantine, which stood on the high 
altar, was taken down in order to perform the cere- 
mony of coronation; but the timidity of Isaac was so 
great that he sought to decline the dangerous honour. 
His uncle, John Dukas, stepped forward and offered 
his bald head to receive the crown his nephew feared 
to accept; but the people, thinking that he bore some 
resemblance to Andronicus, shouted loudly, " We will 
have no more old men to rule us, and no man with a 
forked beard shall be emperor.'' Isaac was therefore 
compelled to receive the crown. It is remarkable that 
the coins of Andronicus distinctly portray the forked 
beard which excited the antipathy of the populace.^ 

Andronicus hastened to Constantinople as soon as 
he was informed of the insurrection, and attempted to 
defend himself in the great palace; but his guards 
refused to attack the people, even though he himself 
mounted one of the towers and shot a few arrows 
against the crowd. The assailants, meeting with no 
opposition, burst open the gate Karea; and Andronicus, 
throwing off the imperial robes, and disguising himself 
in a pointed Russian bonnet, embarked in the galley 

^ Saulcj', pi. xxix. 1, 2, 3. Nicetas, 222. 


BOOK in. which had brought him from the palace of Meludion, 
^•"'* *' accompanied by his young empress Agnes of France, 
a favourite concubine named Maraptika, remarkable 
for her musical skill, and a few personal attendanta 
His object was to escape into Sussia, but contrary 
winds kept him on the Bithynian coast, and he was 
captured by the agents of Isaac, brought back to Con- 
stantinople, and imprisoned in the tower of Anemas, 
with a heavy chain round his neck, and irons on his 

We have not ventured to describe the torments 
Andronicus had often inflicted on his victims when he 
made a public display of his worst acts of cruelty, but 
the people now showed that they had been apt scholars. 
Isaac allowed the old emperor to be dragged by the 
chain from his prison, to be conducted through the 
streets of the capital, undergoing every insult, and 
then to be tortured in the most inhuman manner. 
The populace, headed by the relations of those whom 
he had put to death, among whom the women were 
conspicuous, beat the old man in the cruellest way, tore 
his hair from his head and his beard from his fiftce. 
The Emperor Isaac insulted him when he was brought 
into his presence, and ordered his right hand to be cut 
off and his right eye to be put out. After this treat- 
ment he was thrust back into prison, where he remained 
more than a day without food or attendance. At last 
he was led out, and abandoned to the people for exe- 
cution, who put out his remaining eye, and conducted 
him to the place where he was to suffer, mounted on a 
lean cameL Crowds followed throwing stones at him, 
beating him with long poles, and pricking him with 
spears. Hot water was thrown from the windows on 
his head, and he was compelled for hours to suffer tor- 
tures which nature recoils from recording. At last he 


was taken to the hippodrome, and hung up by the feet a. d. 
between two columns, near a group of ancient sculp- ^ ^^^^^ ' 
ture representing a she-wolf and a hyaena, where his 
sufferings were terminated by two Latin soldiers, who 
plunged their swords into his heart. Andronicus had 
borne all his torments with the greatest fortitude, ex- 
claiming only at intervals, " Lord have mercy upon 
me, and bruise not a broken reed.'' ^ 

^ The reign of Andronicua lasted only a year, from September 1184 to Sep- 
tember 1185; and his administration as guardian of Alexins II. oommenoi^ 
about a year earlier. Nicetas gives a minute account of this period, and he is 
our only authority of any yalue. He records many curious anecdotes con- 
cerning Andronicus, which show that he was a man of sense when not goTemed 
by his passions. One anecdote is worth recording, as it relates to the histo* 
rian John Cinnamus, who has so often been our guide in the preceding pages. 
Andronicus oTcrheard the Bishop of New Fatras (Hypate) and John Ginnamus 
disputing concerning the. words of Christ, " My Father is greater than I," — and 
though he was well read in Greek theology, his anger was so much excited by 
the sophistical distinctions and quibbles of the ecclesiastical disputants, that 
he threatened to throw the divine and the historian into the river Rhyndacus, 
which was flowing near, unless they ceased their cavils conoemiog the Divine 
words, which he deemed sufficiently explicit. — Nicetas, 218. 



BBOT. I. — ^THB REIGN OF ISAAO n. (aNQBLOS), A.D. 1185-1195. 
Ahaboht at Cohraktinoflb— Wobtblbbb chabactbb or Isaac IL— Sigi- 


DOM— Rbbbluon of Albxius Bbabas— Conbad of Mobtfbbbat — Thtbd 


AKD ooBBFiBAOiBB— Isaac dbthbonbd bt hib bbothbb, Alexius III. 

The Byzantine empire was now hurrying rapidly to 
its end, and little is left to record except the progress 
of its dismemberment and destruction. The despotic 
power of the emperors was so firmly established, that 
every executive act emanated directly from the impe- 
rial cabinet. But, in perfecting this system of cen- 
tralisation, every tie of interest which had once at- 
tached the provincials to the imperial authority had 
been broken. The adhesion of the distant countries 
and various nations which composed the empire was 
destroyed ; while, at the same time, the vital energy 
of the Greek population, which had grown to be the 
dominant race, was weakened by the immorality which, 
under the house of Comnenus, had spread through every 
rank of society. The defensive powers of the empire 
were consequently rapidly diminishing. The lavish 
expenditure of the imperial court impelled the govern- 
ment to carry its fiscal exactions so far, that the whole 


annual profits of the people's industry were absorbed by 
taxation, and only the inferior classes of the cultiyators 
of the soil and the day-labourers were able to retain 
the scanty surplus of wealth necessary to perpetuate 
their existence. Indeed, it is evident that encroach- 
ments were constantly made on the vested capital 
accumulated in past ages; and the funds appropriated 
in preceding times to uphold the most indispensable 
adjuncts of civilisation were either annihilated or 
diverted from their destination. Ports, bridges, roads, 
aqueducts, and fortifications were seen falling to ruin 
in every province. Court spectacles and ecclesiastical 
ceremonies at the capital absorbed the funds which 
had been accumulated in distant municipalities for 
local improvements, hospitals, and schools. Everything 
that could inspire the people with zeal to defend their 
national independence had disappeared, or was rapidly 
disappearing, to aid in increasing the intensity of eccle- 
siastical bigotry. 

Political despotism, national demoralisation, ecclesi- 
astical corruption, fiscal oppression, and habitual mis- 
govemment, must therefore be considered responsible 
for the anarchical and disorderly state of Constanti- 
nople at the accession of Isaac Angelos ; and the cir- 
cumstance that a man so incapable and worthless was 
raised to the throne by the popular voice, fully testifies 
the degradation of the inhabitants of the capital. 

After the people forced their way into the great 
palace, and established Isaac there as emperor, they 
remained for several days in possession of the greater 
part of the buildings which were enclosed within the 
circuit of its fortified walls. The residence of the 
emperors of the East was plundered like a sacked city; 
the furniture was carried away ; the chapel was robbed 
of its plate, ornaments, images, and relics ; the casket 
containing the letters said to have been written by 

A. D. 


BOOK m. our Saviour to Abgarus, king of Edessa, was stolen. 

cm^nu^i. rj^^ privato tieasuij of the emperor was broken into, 
and eighty-six thousand byzants in gold coin, thirty 
centners in silver coin, and two hundred of copper, 
were carried off, besides a considerable quantity 
of bullion.^ The new emperor did not venture to 
anest the devastation going on before his eyes while 
his rival was still living. He removed to the palace 
of Blachem befoie Andronicus was taken ; and it was 
only after the populace was gratified with the tyrant's 
death, and their rapacity exhausted with plundering 
the residences of his partisans, that Isaac attempted 
to re-establish order. 

The family of Comnenus had been distinguished for 
talent and courage. Isaac I., Alexius I., John IL, and 
Manuel, were all men of great natural ability. The 
family of Angelos affords a strong contrast. The 
founder of the house was Constantine Angelos, a noble 
of Philadelphia, who married Theodora, the youngest 
daughter of Alexius I. In consequence of hiisi incapa- 
city the Byzantine fleet was defeated by the Sicilians 
in 1 152. His son Andronicus was intrusted by Manuel 
with a high command in Asia Minor after the disas- 
trous battle of Myriokephalon, and he conducted him- 
self with so much cowardice during the campaign of 
1178 that the emperor threatened to send him in pro- 
cession through the streets of Constantinople clad in a 
female dress. The Emperors Isaac II. and Alexius III. 
were the children of this cowardly general 

Isaac Angelos may, nevertheless, be considered as a 
fair specimen of the Byzantine nobility in his age ; 
and his government may be taken as a correct type of 

^ NioetiUBy 223. Kcvnywi^, like our pounds sterling, may have been used to 
denote the Tslue in gold. In this case the sum in diver coin was equal to 
216,000 byaants, and amounted to 2^92,000 miliareaia. Modem collectors of 
Byantine coins, finding silver rare, have erroneously supposed that it was so 


the society he ruled. A wise sovereign is as rarely a. d. 

found in a corrupt people as a virtuous population is ' 

seen groaning for any great length of time under a 
native tyrant. The vices of Isaac 11. were certainly 
those of his subjects ; he was weak and presumptuous, 
cowardly and insolent, mean and rapacious, supersti- 
tious and vicious. The wonder is, not that his admi- 
nistration accelerated the ruin of the empire, but that 
the inhabitants of so many provinces submitted tamely 
to his government. No preceding emperor had paid 
less attention to public business ; he seemed to con- 
sider the throne merely as a means of gratifying his 
passion for pompous dresses and unbounded luxury. 
The court was filled with an innumerable train of 
pages, mistresses, clowns, musicians, and comedians. 
The emperor made himself contemptible by strutting 
about publicly in gorgeous robes like a peacock ; and 
hatefiit by sharing the bribes which his courtiers and 
ministers openly exacted. The Emperor Isaac II. had 
also a taste for building. New apartments were 
added to the old palaces, and new villas were con- 
structed. Churches were pulled down, not only to 
rebuild others, but even to strengthen the palace of 
Blachem with their materials ; and new hospitals were 
erected. The rapacity of Isaac was so great that it 
overcame his superstition. When he was besieged in 
Constantinople by Branas, he borrowed large sums of 
money from the churches, placing the imperial plate 
and jewels in deposit as security. But as soon as he 
was delivered from danger he sent for the plate, which 
the clergy were compelled to restore, and never repaid 
the money.' Yet no emperor ever did more for orna- 
menting churches or for filling the public squares and 
street-comers with gilded pictures of the Virgin than 

1 Nicetas, 245. 


BooKni. Isaac. When reproached with his inconsistency, he 
citjiM 1. ygpjj^ ^jjj^t j^ll things were permitted to the emperor, 
who represented the Divine Power ; and to authorise 
his appropriation of church property to his own use, 
he quoted the example of Constantine the Great, who 
converted one of the nails of the holy cross into a bit 
for his charger, and put another in the front of his 
helmet. Authorised by this example, he plundered 
the richest churches in the provinces of their paintings 
and mosaics ; and among these he carried off from 
Monemvasia a celebrated representation of our Saviour 
led out to be crucified, which was considered one of 
the finest works of art embodying Christ's sufferings. 
His exactions and injustice might possibly have affected 
only some particular classes of society ; but he rendered 
himself universally unpopular by adulterating the im- 
perial coinage.^ 

The reign of Isaac opened with victory over the 
Sicilian invaders. After the conquest of Thessalonica 
they had divided their forces ; and while the troops 
were wasting their time in pillaging the villages of 
Thrace, the fleet under the command of Tancred entered 
the Propontis and advanced within sight of Constanti- 
nople. Weak as Isaac was, he saw that the empire 
was exposed to serious danger from the operations 
of the Sicilians ; and he exerted himself to famish the 
Byzantine army with the means of attacking the enemy. 
To prove the interest he took in the welfare of the troops, 
he despatched a sum of four thousand poimds' weight 
of gold to the military chest, in order to discharge 

^ Nioetas, 280-285, 846-347. Gibbon, who says, "I must repeat the oom- 
plaint that the vague and scanty memorials of the times will not afford a just 
estimate of the taxes, the revenue, and the resources of the Greek (Byzantine) 
empire," nevertheless tells us, when he mentions the extravagance of Isaac, 
that " the number of his eiuiuchs and domestics amounted to twenty thousand ; 
and the daily sum of 4000 lb. of silver would swell to £4,000,000 sterling the 
annual expense of his household and table."— See also Lebeau, Hittoire du Bm- 
Empire, xvi 461. 


arrears and furnish a donative. The first successes a. d. 
of the Sicilians had inspired their generals with ^ ^^'^^ ^ 
unbounded presumption, and they viewed with con- 
tempt the assembly of a Byzantine army in their 
vicinity. Alexis Branas, who was an experienced 
officer, availed himself of their carelessness to drive in 
their advanced guards, and defeat one division of their 
army which had reached Mosynopolis, The remain- 
ing Sicilians concentrated their forces at Amphipolis^ 
where another battle was fought on the 7th November 
1185, at a place called Demerize, in which the Byzan- 
tine army was again victorious. This victory decided 
the fate of the expedition. The generals of the land 
forces. Counts Aldoin and Eichard d'Acerra^ were both 
made prisoners ; and the fugitives who gained Thes- 
salonica immediately embarked and put to sea, with- 
out any attempt to defend the place. As soon as 
Tancred heard of these disasters he abandoned the 
Propontis, and, collecting the shattered remains of the 
expedition, returned to Sicily. Dyrrachium was the 
only conquest retained ; but King William II., con- 
sidering the expense of guarding that fortress incom- 
mensurate with its political importance to SicUy, soon 
after ordered his garrison to abandon it. About four 
thousand Sicilian prisoners were sent by Branas to 
Constantinople. TTiese unfortunate men were treated 
with the greatest cruelty by the worthless emperor, 
who ordered them to be thrown into dungeons, where 
they were left destitute of every succour, so that they 
owed the preservation of their lives to private charity.^ 
Isaac ought now to have directed all his attention, 
and devoted the whole force of the empire, to repel the 
incursions of the Turks, who were annually extend- 
ing their ravages farther into the Asiatic provinces. 

1 Nioetas, 230-234. 


BOOK III. Kilidy-Arslan II., though more than seventy years of 
CH^raj^i. ^^^^ ^^^j^ advantage of the disorders that attended the 
death of Andronieus to send the Emir Sami into the 
Thrakesian theme, where he laid waste the district of 
Celbiane and the plain of the Caister, from whence he 
carried off an immense booty in slaves and cattle, 
leaving whole villages desolate. The emperor, instead 
of forming garrisons on the frontier, and establishing 
squadrons of light cavalry to protect the exposed dis- 
tricts by vigorous opposition, considered that he should 
be able to retain more money for his private pleasures 
by paying an annual tribute to the sultan, and distribut- 
ing presents among the chiefs of the nomadic hordes.^ 
The reign of Isaac II. is filled with a series of revolts, 
caused by his incapable administration and financial 
rapacity. The most important of these was the great 
rebellion of the Vallachian and Bulgarian population 
which occupied the country between Mount Hsemus 
and the Danube. The immense population of this 
extensive country now separated itself finally from the 
government of the Eastern Empire, and its political 
destinies ceased to be united with those of the Greeks. 
A new European monarchy, called the Vallachian, or 
second Bulgarian kingdom, was formed, which for some 
time acted an important part in the affairs of the 
Byzantine empire, and contributed powerfully to the 
depression of the Greek race. The sudden importance 
assumed by the Vallachian population in this revolu- 
tion, and the great extent of country then occupied by 
a people who had previously acted no prominent part 
in the political events of the East, render it necessary 
to give some account of their previous history. Four 
different countries are spoken of under the name of 
Vallachia by the Byzantine writers : Great Vallachia^ 

^ Kicetas, 236. 


which was the country round the plain of Thessaly, a. d. 
particularly the southern and south-western part ; ^ ^ ^^ ^ 
White Vallachia, or the modem Bulgaria, which formed 
the Vallacho-Bulgarian kingdom that revolted from 
Isaac II. ; Black Vallachia, Mavrovallachia, or Kara* 
bogdon, which is Moldavia ; and Hungarovallachia, 
or the Vallachia of the present day, comprising a part 
of Transylvania.^ 

There is no subject connected with the decline and 
fall of the Roman empire, both in the East and West, of 
greater importance for tracing accurately the political 
and social progress of the inhabitants of Europe, than 
the history of the diminution, extinction, and modifica- 
tion of the population in the various nations subjected 
to the Roman domination. In the preceding pages I 
have pointed out that every class of society raised 
somewhat above the ranks of poverty was exposed to 
such constant fiscal extortion, and bound with so many 
local and social fetters, that in the latter days of the 
empire the middling classes lost the means of perpetu- 
ating their existence ; and, consequently, the bulk of 
the inhabitants actually disappeared in many provinces, 
which were then easily occupied and colonised by the 
northern nations — as happened in the case of Servia 
and Bulgaria. But it is more difficult to trace the 
modifications which gradually change a nation than 
to note the final extiuction of a numerous class, though, 
in truth, we can rarely be assured that the extinction 
of any race of mankind is anything more than a modi- 
fication of its elements. It is therefore necessary to 
distioguish accurately how far the causes which tended 
to extinguish the population operated on the different 
classes of society, without reference to their ethnological 
differences ; and to inquire whether the causes which 

^ Villehardoin, Conquite de ConUantinopU, note of DucangOi No. cvi. 


BOOK m. modified the civilisation and language of the races that 
c»^«M 1. j^^^ survived the Eoman domination had any direct 
connection with the increase or decrease of their num- 
bers. No historical facts seem more evident than these 
two, that the Thracian race — which during the first 
century of the Christian era formed the most numerous 
ethnological division of the inhabitants of the eastern 
part of the Roman empire-^ — ^has long ceased to exist ; 
nor, on the other hand, that the modem Greeks are a 
modification of the ancient Achaian, Dorian, Ionian, 
-ffiolian, and Hellenic population. And yet there are 
those who consider that the Albanians and Yallachians 
have quite as much right to be considered as the 
descendants of the ancient Thradans, who instructed 
the Greeks in the first elements of civilisation, as the 
modem Greeks have to be regarded as the progeny of 
the Hellenes who were conquered by the Bomans. 

The universality of the causes which operated under 
the iron sway of Rome, both in diminishiTig the num- 
bers of mankind, and in modifying national elements, 
renders it difficult to determine the limits of their 
separate effects. There is no doubt, however, that the 
inhabitants of the extensive plains and pastoral moun- 
tains of Thrace were more exposed to the material 
oppression of the Roman administration than the in- 
habitants of the narrow coasts and rocky mountains of 
Greece. While fiscal extortion and miUtary operations 
exterminated the majority of the free Thracians, moral 
influences only modified the customs and language of 
Greece. In every province of her empire Rome planted 
colonies in which her usages, laws, and language were 
as completely national as they were in Rome itself. In 
Greece, Corinth, Patras, and Nicopolis were Latin 

^ EustathiuSy Archbishop of Thesaalonica* Commentartua in Dianj/B. Perie- 
getem, v. 323k Strabo, lib, viL, c. 8, b. 7, page 328, ed. CauB^uboni, Paris, 


cities ; and for many ages they were almost the only a. d. 
flourishing cities in the country. The provincial ad- "^^^^ ^' 
ministration, and particularly the fiscal, was everywhere 
carried on in Latin ; the proconsular tribunals acknow- 
ledged the existence of no other language, and thus 
even the Greeks were bent from their original ideas, 
and compelled to adopt new habits, new thoughts, and 
new expressions. In the West, Gaul and Spain were 
modified according to a Roman type, of which they 
bear the impress to the present day; in the East, the 
same causes produced an effect on the more civilised 
inhabitants of Greece, though the change was of a 
modified nature. Similar influences, bearing power- 
fully on the whole Greek people wherever they might 
be scattered, effected the same ethnological change on 
the whole race. The rude mountaineers of Laconia 
could not well become less civilised than they had been 
before the Roman conquest, but they yielded to the 
same circumstances which affected Athens and Alex- 
andria, Syracuse and Byzantium. The moral power of 
the Roman administration changed the ancient Hellenes 
into modem Greeks, according to the impress of one 
unvarying type ; and of that change into Romaioi, or 
subjects of the Roman empire, the Greek language 
bears ineffaceable marks. As the institutions of the 
great Transatlantic republic mould English, Irish, 
Celts, Dutch, Germans, French, and Spaniards who 
settle under its sway into one people, so the great 
empire of the ancient world moulded the Spartan, 
Athenian, Dorian, Ionian, and ^(Eolian into a homo- 
geneous mass. There can be no doubt that a change 
similar to that which took place among the Greeks was 
wrought about the same time on the Thracian race, 
but a dark veil covers the history of the native pro- 
prietors of the soil in the coimtries between the uEgean 
Sea and the Danube for many centuries. 


BOOK in. The Yallachian population of Thrace began to ac- 
CM^m^i. q^^jj^ some degree of importance during the reign of 
Alexius I., though the passages in which it is mentioned 
are vague. The number of the same race which then 
inhabited the countries north of the Danube is also 
recorded to have been considerable.^ We have already 
had occasion to notice that in the reign of Manuel I. 
they were the masters of a considerable part of Thessaly, 
which was subsequently known by the name of Great 
Yallachia ; and people were so struck by the resem- 
blance which their language bore to Latin that they 
were generally pronounced to be the descendants of 
Italian colonists.^ Like the modem Greeks, they called 
themselves Eomans, from havings like the Greeks, ac- 
quired the rights of Eoman citizenship by the decree 
of Caracalla ; and the name of Vlachs, or Vallachians, 
appears to have been first given them by the Sclavo- 
nians who colonised their depopulated plains.^ It may 
be observed that the Sclavonians gave the Italians the 
same name, struck apparently by their general simi- 
larity, and that the name has always been repudiated 
by the Vallachians. 

No portion of the Roman empire was more rapidly 
changed or earlier depopulated by the severity of the 
government than the Thracian provinces^ though they 
were among the last which were subjected to fiscal 
oppression.* Several Roman legions were constantly 
quartered in these provinces, and numerous Roman 
colonies were founded in them. Roman veterans 
settled in the country, and young Thradans departed 

^ Anna Comnena for those Bouth of the Danube, pp. 188, 227, 274; for those 
beyond the Danube, whom she calls Dacians, 188; but compare Cinnamus, 152. 

' Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, yol. i. p. 48, Asher's eid. Cinnamus, 152. 
Epist. Innacentii III,, liber, ii., ep. 266, tom. L 513, Baluze. Chaloocondylas, 
16, 40. 

' Lucius, De Regno Dalmatla et Croatia, 283. 

* Moeeia, by Tiberius— Appian, lUyri., a 30. Thrace, by Claudius.— Sue- 
tonius, Vesp., c. 8. 


annually as recruits to distant legions. The Latin a. d. 
language appears also to have amalgamated more ^|^^^- 
readily with the Thracian than with the Greek. We 
are informed by a Greek writer, who was himself a 
Roman ambassador, that in the middle of the fifth 
century the Greek language was unknown in the coun- 
tries between the Adriatic, the ^gean, the Black Sea, 
and the Danube, except in the commercial towns on 
the coasts of Thrace and Illyria ; but that Latin was 
the ordinary medium of communication among foreign 
races, both for commercial and political intercourse.^ 
Li the sixth century, the Thracian dialect bore a strong 
resemblance to corrupt Latin, and to the Vallachian 
language spoken at the present day.^ This Vallachian 
language, too, like the modem Greek, bears strong 
marks of having been formed by the operation of one 
overwhelming influence, affecting every portion of the 
nation at the same time. And accordingly, as in the 
case of the Greeks, we find every distant and isolated 
tribe speaking the same language which is spoken on 
Mount Pindus by the last survivors of the populatioa 
of Great Vallachia, as weU as by the Romans beyond 
the Danube and the Carpathian Mountains, in the 
Bannat, and in Transylvania. But, after all this, the 
question remains undecided whether these Vallachians 
are the lineal descendants of the Thracian race, who 
Strabo tells us extended as far south as Thessaly, and 
as far north as to the borders of Pannonia ; for of the 
Thracian language we know nothing. 

From some causes which cannot now be traced, it is 
certain that the Vallachian population in the Byzan- 
tine empire increased greatly in wealth and numbers 
during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Benjamin 
of Tudela gives a romantic account of the complete 

* Excerpta e PrUei Hitty 190, ed. Bonn. 

* Theopkanii Chronog,, 218. Theophylactus Sim., 62. 


BOOK III. independence of those who inhabited Thessalj; but 
cii^m^L ^j^^ general fact, that they were governed accoiding to 
their own usages by a tributary prince — as the Scla- 
vonians of the Peloponnesus had been in the ninth 
and tenth centuries — is confirmed by Nicetas, who 
informs us that they were able to defend their inde- 
pendence against the Crusaders, who conquered the 
Byzantine empire. Though the Vallachians of Mount 
Haemus had not, like their countrymen in Thessaly, 
aspired at self-legislation and independence, they had 
been gradually thrown more and more on their na- 
tional resources by the oppressions of Manuel, by the 
disorders that prevailed in the central administration 
after his death, and by the invasion of the Sicilians. 
The immediate cause of their rebellion against the em- 
pire was the imposition of an additional tax by the 
Emperor Isaac in the year 1186, to defiray the ex- 
penses of his marriage with Margaret, the daughter of 
Bela III., king of Hungary. 

Three brothers, Peter, Asan, and John, placed them- 
selves at the head of the insurrection, and claimed to 
be descended &om the elder line of the Bulgarian 
monarchs, though they were Vallachians in their nur- 
ture and early associations. The Bulgarian and Scla- 
vonian population, from Mount Haemus to the Danube, 
suffered from the same oppression as the YaUachian, 
and detested the Byzantine government and their 
Greek rulers with equal hatred. The hope of throw- 
ing off the domination of their oppressors, induced all 
to take up arms with enthusiasm ; and as superstition 
was a feeling more deeply rooted in the human breast 
at this period than patriotism, it was announced, and 
generally believed, that Saint Demetrius, the favourite 
saint of the Vallachians, Bulgarians, and Sclavonians 
of these provinces, had forsaken the city of Thessa- 
lonica, of which he had hitherto been the patron, and 


had removed his sanctuary to a church lately erected a- d. 
to his honour by Peter.^ The fanatics considered it "^'^^^ ^' 
their duty to put every Greek to death who fell into 
their hands; and the people had suffered so much from 
the exactions of the fiscal officers of the Byzantine gov- 
ernment, that they were incited to take part in these 

Peter having assembled an army in Mount Haemus, 
and assumed the imperial title, marched into the dis- 
tricts of Thrace, which were inhabited by the Greeks^ 
and laid everything waste ; but his first operations 
were imsuccessful. He was defeated, and compelled 
to seek refuge in the Patzinak territory, beyond the 
Danube. In the year 1187 the rebels were again 
defeated by the emperor's uncle, John the Sevasto- 
krator; but the jealousy of Isaac inducing him to 
remove his imcle from the command of the army, he 
sent John Cantacuzenos, who had been deprived of his 
sight, to take the command of the troops. The rebels 
now proved victorious ; and, to arrest their progress, 
the emperor was compelled to intrust Alexis Branas 
with the conduct of the war. Branas drove the Val- 
lachians beyond Mount Haemus ; but as soon as he 
had driven the rebels out of Thrace, he left them to 
consolidate their power in Bulgaria, and marched his 
army to Adrianople. Seeing that rebellion was to a 
certain degree successful both in Bulgaria and Cyprus, 
and foreseeing that new insurrections would soon fol- 
low, he thought that it would be easy to turn the gene- 
ral discontent to his own profit. He therefore assumed 
the title of Emperor, and appeared before Constantin- 
ople at the head of a well-appointed force, not expect- 
ing to meet with any serious resistance. 

1 Nioetas, 288, mentioDS Peter qb the fixBt king; bat Qeo. Actopolita, 11, 
callB Asan the fint king, and says Peter governed a district with him.— Du- 
cauge, Fam. Bifz,, SIS. 


BOOK in. But the persons connected with the general admini- 
cii^ni^ . g^j^|.'Qj^ j^j^^ ^Yie people within the walls of the capital, 
entertained the greatest aversion to receive an emperor 
raised to the throne by the army. They feared that 
he would be compelled to effect a financial revolution, 
and make numerous personal changes in order to re- 
ward his followers. Alexis Branas, therefore, met with 
a more determined opposition than he had expected. 
But Isaac, in place of aiding the troops, consumed his 
time in prayers and processions, so that Branas, man- 
ning a number of fishing-boats which he had collected 
in the islands of the Propontis, rende'red himself mas- 
ter of the imperial fleet. The capital seemed on the 
eve of falling into his hands, when it was saved by 
Conrad of Montferrat. That distinguished Crusader, 
who has transmitted the vain title of King of Jerusa- 
lem to the reigning family of Sardinia, had visited 
Constantinople on his way to Palestine. Having mar- 
ried Theodora, the sister of the Emperor Isaac, and 
received the rank of Caesar, he felt himself authorised 
to reproach his brother-in-law with his misconduct, 
and point out to him that, unless he exerted himself 
he was likely to lose his crown. The alarming posi- 
tion of Constantinople rendered the Greeks willing to 
submit to the superior military skiU of Conrad. His 
satirical observations at last roused Isaac to activity. 
He told him that things were in such a state, that 
swords and lances were the means Heaven would use 
if Isaac's crown was to be saved, not priests and pro- 
cessions. When he found the emperor occupied in 
planning feasts, he coolly remarked that it would be 
time enough to think of the enjoyments of the table 
when he should be assured of the future ; but, for the 
moment, the defence of Constantinople demanded all 
his care. Conrad fortunately found two hundred and 
fifty Latin knights and five hundred veteran infantry 


at Constantinople, who ranged themselves under his a. d. 

orders. All the Turkish and Georgian merchants who ' 

resided in the city, and whose expeditions had accus- 
tomed them to war, formed themselves into corps to 
defend their property. Isaac himself at last enrolled 
all the native soldiers in the capital, and roused the 
spirit of the troops by a donative, which he procured 
by pledging the imperial plate, and borrowing money 
from the church funds. 

At the head of these forces Conrad took the field, 
accompanied by the emperor. Branas had encamped 
his army before Constantinople without attempting to 
form a regular siege. The two armies spent several 
hours in skirmishing; but Branas having examined 
the strength of the imperial army, at last drew to- 
gether his best troops and prepared for a decisive 
attack. Conrad, who had closely watched his opera- 
tions, and kept his Latin knights ready for some dar- 
ing exploit, boldly anticipated the enemy^s movement. 
His defensive armour was a red linen body-coat of 
numerous folds, soddened together into a substance 
impenetrable to lance or sword ; and with this light 
covering, and his small triangular shield, which made 
him appear to the Greeks almost defenceless, he led 
his cavalry to charge the centre of the rebel army. 
The shock bore down every opposition ; and the 
cavalry of Branas were soon scattered in irretrievable 
confusion. Branas, attempting to rally them, was 
dashed from his saddle by Conrad's lance ; and when 
he demanded quarter on the ground, Conrad exclaim- 
ed — "You must pay your treason with your lif e T' 
His attendants immediately decapitated the prostrate 

^ Nioetas, 247. The coat of Conrad oonsiBted of eighteen folds of linen, 
prepared with nit and strong rough wine. Pliny mentions felt as used for 
defensive armour, prepared from wool and vinegar. — Nat. BitL, lib. viii., a 78. 

Conrad was an elder brother of Rayner (Alexius) the husband of Maria, 


BOOK III. This victory was celebrated by Isaac as if it had 
cii^mm 1. 1^^^ achieved by his own military prowess. He passed 
through Constantinople in triumph before the army, 
with the head of Branas borne before him on the point 
of a lance ; and when he reached the imperial palace, 
he had the inhumanity to send this bloody trophy to 
Maria Comnena, the widow of Branas, whom the Em- 
peror Manuel, her uncle, had called, for her virtues, 
an honour to the imperial family. The populace of 
the capital was allowed to make expeditions for the 
purpose of plundering the inhabitants of the islands of 
the Propontis who had declared in favour of Branas ; 
and houses and villages were seen in flames on every 
side of Constantinople. The Latins availed themselves 
of the general anarchy to plunder the houses of many 
of the wealthy nobles who were considered hostUe to 
the emperor's policy; and at last a regular battle was 
fought by the Greeks and Latins in the streets, which 
the imperial officers had the greatest difficulty in ter- 
minating. Much blood was shed on both sides; and 
the hatred between the two races and religions became 
every day more bitter. Conrad finding that the state 
of affairs was not favourable to his ambition, his wife 
Theodora dying, and the news arriving that his father, 
the Marquis William, had been taken prisoner by Sala- 
din at the battle of Tiberias, quitted Constantinople 
and arrived in Palestine, where he immediately in- 
creased his fame by defeating Saladin under the walls 
of Tyre. 

The Vallachian war was resumed after the death of 
Branas, and Isaac took the field against the rebels; 
but though Peter and Asan were unable, with their 

daughter of the Emperor Manuel. He was elected King of JeroBalem by the 
barons of Syria, and assassinated by the emissaries of the Sheik of the Moun- 
tain on the day he received the news of his election. Nioetas, when mention- 
ing his assassination, does not allude to the existence of any report that Richard 
Lion-hearted, the conqueror of the Greeks of Cyprus, had been accused of hay- 
ing had anything to do with it. 

THIED CRUSADE, A.D. 1189. 287 

Vallacliian, Bulgarian, and Sclavonian levies, to en- a. d. 
counter the imperial army, they prevented the cam- ^ ^^^^^ ' 
paign from producing any decided results. After 
besieging Lobitza for three months, the Byzantine 
army was compelled to retire, a.d. 1188. 

While the Vallachians were thus gradually forming 
an independent kingdom, a new crusade threatened the 
Byzantine empire with fresh dangers. Fortunately for 
the Greeks, the only leader of the third crusade who 
passed through the dominions of Isaac was Frederic I. 
(Barbarossa), Emperor of Germany, an experienced 
and prudent monarch, who wished to avoid all collision 
with the Byzantine government ; and who, having 
passed through the empire with his uncle Conrad 
during the second crusade, knew how to adopt the 
most effectual measures for preserving order. He 
allowed no pilgrim to join his standard who did not 
possess three marks of sUver to defray his expenses on 
the road. Never did a finer army, or a nobler and 
abler commander, leave Europe for the East ; yet, in 
spite of the valour and discipline of the troops, and 
the experience of the general, fortune declared against 
this expedition, and it was as fruitless as the wildest 
enterprises of preceding Crusaders. 

Before Frederic Barbarossa quitted Germany, he 
despatched an embassy to Constantinople to ask per- 
mission to pass through the Byzantine empire, and 
Isaac sent Dukas, the intendant of posts, to arrange 
the articles of a treaty by which all disorders might 
be prevented during the march of the Crusaders, and 
a sufl&cient supply of provisions and forage might be 
furnished to them at reasonable prices. Frederic made 
all his dispositions with prudence ; but he had not 
proceeded far on his march before the inconstancy of 
Isaac, who, like most of the Byzantine courtiers and 
the Greek clergy, heartily detested the Franks, induced 


BOOK m. him to send orders to throw obstacles in the way of 
ciiMii^ . ^^^ advance of the German army, and stop their sup- 
plies of provisions. Nicetas the historian was then 
governor of Philippopolis ; and he informed us that he 
received from day to day the most contradictory orders 
from the court. By one despatch he was ordered to 
repair the fortifications, by another to dismantle the 
place. Attempts were made to render the roads im- 
practicable ; large trees were cut down to block up the 
passes^ and other measures were taken which only 
delayed and irritated the Germans, who punished the 
subjects of Isaac for obeying the orders of their em- 
peror. Frederic reached Philippopolis on the 23d of 
August 1189, and entered the city without opposition. 
The Armenians, who had been for ages established in 
this city and its neighbourhood, and whose heretical 
opinions rendered them ill-disposed towards the Greeks, 
who treated them often with great injustice, welcomed 
the Latins, and afforded them exact information con- 
cerning the state of the empire, and the movements of 
the Byzantine troops.^ 

The insolence of Isaac at last involved the two 
emperors in war; but the Greek troops were unable 
to resist the Germans, and were soon defeated. In 
their flight they plundered the inhabitants of the 
country far more cruelly than the Crusaders. The 
opposition he had met with, and the advanced time of 
the year, induced Frederic to take up his winter-quar- 
ters in Thrace. He felt that the proceedings of Isaac 
might force him to attack Constantinople ; and he 
therefore made arrangements for assembling a fleet of 
Genoese, Pisan, and Venetian ships, which he could 
employ either against the Byzantine empire, or for 

^ Nicetas, 258, Bays the Armenian heretics resembled the Germans in their 
religious opinions. They did not adore images, and used unleavened bread in 
the communion. 


transporting his army to Asia» as circumstances might a. d. 

• 1185-1 195« 


As Isaac persisted in his hostile conduct, Frederic 
marched to Adrianople in the month of February 1190. 
He then took Didymoteichos by storm, and occupied 
Arcadiopolis. Isaac, who had trusted for success rather 
to the prophecies which the bigoted members of the 
Greek clergy had repeated to him than to his military 
arrangements^ was now seriously alarmed, and sent to 
solicit peace on any terms.. The conduct of the German 
emperor was in accordance with his previous declara- 
tions. He asked nothing but what Isaac had promised 
by their first treaty. Frederic had also afforded a 
proof of his generosity which ought to have made a 
deep impression even on a fool like Isaac, and on a 
herd of such knaves as composed the Byzantine court. 
Peter and Asan had offered to join the Crusaders with 
an army of forty thousand Vallachians and Bulgarians, 
on condition that the German emperor would invest 
one of the brothers with the crown of Bulgaria ; but 
Frederic refused to intermeddle in the affairs of another 
Christian state, further than was necessary to remove 
the obstacles thrown in the way of his march to the 
Holy Land. The Byzantine government renewed its 
promises to supply the Crusaders with provisions as 
long as they remained in the imperial dominions, 
engaged to furnish them with vessels to convey them 
from Gallipoli to Asia, and gave hostages to Frederic, 
who were to be released when he reached Philadelphia. 
Frederic also insisted that the Emperor Isaac and five 
hundred of the principal officers of the empire should 
publicly take an oath to fulfil the articles of the treaty 
to his ambassadors in the Church of St Sophia, and in 
the presence of the Patriarch ; and to this the Byzan- 
tine emperor was compelled to submit.^ 

^ So violent was the hostility that preTaUed against the Latins at Constan- 


BooKHi. On the 28th of March 1190, Frederic passed over 
''"'* into Asia Minor with the last division of his army, 
and marched by Thyatira, Philadelphia, and Laodicea 
into the dominions of the Sultan of Iconium. He was 
generally received with as much ill-will as the Byzan- 
tine authorities ventured to show ; but at Laodicea he 
found an independent Greek population accustomed to 
continual war with the Turks, and who trusted to their 
own exertions, not to the imperial court and the central 
government, for pafety. These free citizens gave the 
Crusaders a sincere welcome, and afforded them every 
assistance in their power. Frederic was so touched by 
their conduct that he knelt down in the plain before 
his camp, and prayed that Ood would recompense the 
people of Laodicea. 

The Sultan of Iconium had promised to allow the 
Crusaders to pass through his dominions without 
molestation, and permit them to purchase provisions ; 
but, like the Emperor Isaac, he endeavoured to throw 
obstacles in their way. Frederic, however, used little 
ceremony with the Mohammedans ; he defeated their 
army at Philomelium, and marched direct to Iconiimi, 
which the Emperors Alexius I., John II., and Manuel 
I. had vainly endeavoured to reach. The capital of 
the sultan was taken by storm, and ample supplies of 
provisions were obtained for the army ; but the sultan 

tinople that Isaac addressed a letter to the Sultan of Egypt, Saladin, in which 
he boasted of having done everything to arrest the advance of the CmaadeiB. — 
Lebeau, xvL 418; Add. de Brosset, EjOt, de» Biit, Arab^ 275. Nicetaa, 262, 
mentions an anecdote which is deserving of notice, as its authenticity has the 
guarantee of a distinguished Byzantine officer'in the service of Isaac. Frederic 
sent ambassadors to Constantinople during the winter, whom Isaac detained 
as hostages ; and when he gave them audience, they were compelled to stand 
among the attendants, though the Bishop of M uuster and two counts of high 
rank formed the embassy. Isaac, however, was soon compelled to send an 
embassy of Greek nobles to Frederic, who received the deputation with great 
politeness, and Invited them all to an entertainment At the dinner, Byzantine 
nobles,. Greek cooks, and Sclavonian grooms were all compelled to sit down 
together; the German emperor observing sarcastically that all the Greeks he 
had met with were such great men, that it was impossible to make any dis- 
tinction in their merits. 


was allowed to remain quietly in the citadel of his a. d. 
capital, as he offered no further opposition. Frederic ^ ^"^^^^ ' 
then pursued his march through the territories of the 
Armenians of Cilicia. The delivery of the Holy Land 
was now supposed by the Christians to be certain. A 
numerous and weU-disciplined army, led by a general 
experienced in all the difl&culties of Eastern warfare, 
was about to enter Syria, when death arrested the 
progress of Frederic Barbarossa. He died of a cold 
caught by bathing in the limpid stream of the Caly- 
cadnus, near Seleucia^ the waters of which were chiUed 
by the melted snow descending from Mount Taurus. 
The enemies of Frederic acknowledge that he was a 
valiant and noble prince.^ 

The evils inflicted on the Greek race by the third 
crusade were rendered permanent by fortuitous cir- 
cumstances, and feU heaviest on the island of Cyprus^ 
which was already separated from the Byzantine em- 
pire. Isaac Comnenos, who had assumed the title of 
Emperor in Cyprus during the reign of Andronicus, 
contracted an alliance with William IL, king of Sicily. 
Isaac II. of Constantinople, elated with his victory over 
the Sicilians, expected to reconquer Cyprus without 
difficulty. In the year 1186 he sent a fleet of seventy 
galleys with a numerous army to perform this service, 
but hia jealousy of his best officers induced him to 
intrust the command to men incapable of performing 
military duty, as a security against their mounting the 
throne. One was an old man, named John Koutoste* 
phanos, and the other Alexis Comnenos, the natural 
son of Manuel, whom Andronicus had deprived of 
sight. The expedition reached Cjrprus in safety, and 
the army was landed. But the King of Sicily sent a 
fleet to the assistance of his ally, under the command 

^ Nicetas, 266. 


BOOK iiL of the Admiral Margaritone, the ablest naval officer 
^ '"• * *' of the time, who surprised the Byzantine fleet, and 
captured most of the transports and galleys. In the 
mean time the land forces were also defeated, and the 
two generals, falling into the hands of the Sicilian ad* 
miral, were carried prisoners to Palermo. Isaac of 
Cyprus, after this victory, which he owed to the valour 
of foreigners, treated most of the prisoners with horrid 
cruelty. Those whom he did not wish to enrol in his 
own service were put to death with inhuman tortures.^ 
This victory secured the throne of Cyprus to Isaac, 
who showed that he was a worthless and rapacious 
tyrant ; but as his political government favoured the 
trade of the Cypriots with Sicily, Syria, and Armenia, 
they submitted to his sway ; and had he possessed ordi- 
nary prudence, he might have enjoyed his usurpation 
without danger. A wanton display of insolence caused 
his ruin. In the year 11 91, as the fleet of Kichard Lion- 
hearted was proceeding from Messina to Palestine, it was 
assailed by a tempest, and three ships were wrecked 
on the coast of Cyprus. Isaac, who felt all the dislike 
to the Crusaders generally entertained by the Greeks, 
and who was ignorant of the power of the King of 
England, seized the opportunity of gratifying his own 
cruel disposition, and of proving his friendship for 
Saladin, with whom he had recently formed an alliance. 
He took possession of the property which was saved 
from the shipwrecked vessels, and imprisoned all the 
English who escaped the waves. Perhaps Isaac might 
have escaped with impunity had he only plundered 
the English, but he ventured to insult the king. The 
vessel which carried Joanna of Sicily, Richard's sister, 
and Berengaria of Navarre, to whom he was betrothed, 
sought shelter from the storm in the port of Amathus 

* Nicetas, 287. 


(Limisso), but was refused entrance. The storm, how- a. d. 

ever, had abeady abated, and this ship had joined ' 

Kichard at Rhodes. The King of England immediately- 
sailed to Cyprus ; and when Isaac refused to deliver 
up the shipwrecked crusaders, and to restore their pro- 
perty, Richard landed his army and commenced a 
series of operations, which ended in his conquering the 
whole island, in which he abolished the administrative 
institutions of the Eastern Empire, enslaving the Greek 
race, introducing the feudal system, by which he 
riveted the chains of a foreign domination, and then 
gave it as a present to Guy of Lusignan, the titular 
King of Jerusalem, who became the founder of a 
dynasty of Frank kings in Cyprus. From that time 
to the present day the Greeks of Cyprus have suffered 
every misery that can be inflicted by foreign masters ; 
and the island, which at the time of its conquest by 
Richard was the richest and most populous in the 
Mediterranean, is now almost uncultivated, and very 
thinly inhabited.^ 

Isaac Angelos, who occupied the throne of Constan- 
tinople, was in constant danger of being precipitated 
from his elevation, like his namesake of Cyprus. When 
accident had placed the crown on a head so weak and 
incapable, every man of ambition hoped to be able 
to transfer it to his own, and rebellion succeeded re- 
bellion. One of the most dangerous pretenders to the 
throne was a young man of Constantinople, who 
assumed the name of Alexius IL, and whose singular 
resemblance to that prince and to his father Manuel 
induced many to credit his assertions. He visited 
Iconium while Kilidy-Arslan reigned ; and the old 
sultan, struck with his resemblance to Manuel, allowed 
him to enrol troops, but he refused to break the treaty 

^ For a more detailed account of the conquest of Cyprus, see Mediexal 
Oreeee and Trebizand, 89. 

294 BUGN OF ISAAC 11. 

BOOK III. he had concluded with Isaac, and lose the tribute he 
*''"' ' received from the Byzantine empire.^ The false Alexius 
assembled an army of eight thousand men, and ravaged 
the vale of the Mseander, 8t<»ming several cities in 
order to gratify his followers with plunder : among 
others he took the rich city of Chonss. Isaac sent his 
brother Alexius to encounter the pretender, but the im* 
perial troops met with little success. The career of the 
rebel was, however, suddenly arrested by a priest, by 
whom he was assassinated, as a just vengeance for his 
alliance with the Infidels, by whose assistance he had 
plundered the richest cities of Asia Minor, and who 
under his banner had desecrated the churches in these 
cities. The assassin carried his head to Alexius the 
sevastokrator, who was so struck by its resemblance to 
the well-known features of Manuel, that he exclaimed, 
" Those who followed him may indeed be innocent!" 
After his death several persons assumed the name of 
Alexius II. ; one was taken in Paphlagonia, and put to 
death, and another at Nicomedia, who was deprived of 

Theodore Mankaphas, a noble of Philadelphia, also 
assumed the title of Emperor, and attempted to dethrone 
Isaac ; but his historical importance is derived rather 
from the fact that he is recorded to have coined sUver 
money with his eflfigy than from the importance of his 
rebellion.^ In the year 1189 he rendered himself mas- 
ter of the country round Philadelphia, and his pro- 
gress alarmed Isaac to such a degree that he marched 
against him in person. The approach of Frederic Bar- 
barossa made the emperor anxious to terminate the 

^ Nioetas, 269, mentions that this happened before Kilidy-Aralan II. wbb de- 
throned by his son Kothbeddin, consequently before 1 1 87. —UAri de v€riJUr 
l€sDaU$,u. 67,4toedit. 

' Nicetas, 255. I believe coin-collectors have not yet met with silver coins of^ 
this scoundrel, which they would prize highly, but I see mention made of five* 
copper concave pieces in the catalogue of Mr Sorrel's collection, which was 
formed at Smyrna, and sold at London in 1852. 

VALLACHIAN REBELLION, A.D. 11 92-1 J 95. 295 

war, and he agreed to pardon Mankaphas, on the rebel a. d. 
making his submission, and lajdng aside the imperial ^^^^^ ' 
ensigns. The pardoned rebel soon after fled to Iconium, 
where Gaiasheddin Kaikhosrou allowed him to enrol 
troops among the nomade tribes, and with these bands 
he ravaged the frontiers of the Byzantine empire with 
the same barbarity as the false Alexius. At last Isaac 
bribed the sultan to deliver him up, on condition that 
his life should be spared, and his punishment should 
not exceed perpetual imprisonment. New claimants 
to the throne, however, continued to take the field, and 
.the suspicions of Isaac induced him to punish many 
nobles of the highest rank for real or imaginary con- 

The Yallachian insurrection in the mean time kept 
the northern provinces of the empire in a state of 
anarchy. In the year 1192 the emperor hoped to crush 
it by conducting in person a well-disciplined army 
against the half-disciplined bands of Vallachians, Bul- 
garians, and Sclavonians, who had taken up arms. 
But he led his army into the mountain-passes with- 
out taking any precautions, where it was attacked and 
its ranks broken. The valour of the imperial guard 
saved the emperor by breaking through the Vallachi- 
ans, carrying with them Isaac, helpless and bareheaded. 
In the following year the VaUachians stormed Anchi- 
alus, Vama^ Nyssa, and Stupion, and burned part of 
Triaditza (Sardica). The emperor boasted of a glorious 
campaign when he recovered possession of the plundered 
ruins of these cities. He, however, defeated the Zupan 
of Servia, who had invaded the empire and plundered 
Skupia. Subsequently he marched to the banks of the 
Save, and after an idle procession to meet his father- 
in-law, the King of Hungary, he returned to Constan- 

» Nicetas, 271, 272, 273, 278. 


BOOK m. tinople. In 1194 the Byzantine anny, under the com- 
ciijjm 1. jj^g^jj^ Qf ^Y^Q generals of the European and Asiatic 
native troops, was completely defeated by the Valla- 
chians near Arcadiopolis ; and the country round 
Philippopolis, Sardica, and Adrianople was laid waste 
by the insurgents. 

The Emperor Isaac now felt the necessity of making 
some extraordinary exertions to terminate this war, 
which was daily approaching nearer to the walls of 
the capital. New levies were made in the empire, the 
foreign mercenaries were assembled from their different 
stations, and great numbers of Hungarian auxiliaries 
were brought into the field. Fifteen himdred poimds' 
weight of gold and six thousand of silver were expended 
in equipping the troops and forming the necessary 
magazines; and in the month of March 1195, Isaac 
quitted Constantinople, accompanied by his brother 
Alexius, in whom he placed implicit confidence. But 
natural affection, as well as honour and truth, appears 
to have been banished from Byzantine society; and 
this brother had already formed a plot to seize the 
throne, which he carried into execution when the court 
reached Kypsela. While the Emperor Isaac was 
engaged in hunting, Alexius occupied his tent, and 
was proclaimed emperor by the nobles and troops he 
had gained to support his usurpation. The army, who 
despised Isaac, readily transferred their allegiance to 
Alexius, whose vices were then less known. The 
dethroned emperor, when informed of the catastrophe, 
turned his horse's head from the camp and fled, he 
knew not whither. At Stagyra^ then called Makri, 
he was overtaken by his brother's agents, who imme- 
diately deprived him of sight. He was transported 
directly to Constantinople, where he was imprisoned 
in a dungeon, and supplied with rations of bread and 
water like a criminal. 


Isaac 11. reigned nine years and seven months. He a. d. 

was middle-sized, of a healthy constitution, with a 
florid complexion and red hair. When dethroned, he 
was not forty years of age, (April 1196).^ 


CHABAGrriB OF Albxius III.— Lavish ezpenditurb of the coubt — Ve- 
nalitt and disorder in the administration— relations with the 
Seljouk Turks — Yallachian war — Absassination of Aban and 
Peter, founders of the Yallachian- Buloarian kinqdom — Rebel- 
lions—Relations WITH western Europe— Alexius, son of Isaac II., 
obtains the asbotanoe of the Crusaders and Yenetians— Siege of 
Constantinople- Repulse of the Crusaders— Success of the Yene- 
tians — ^Alezius III. abandons Constantinople. 

During the reign of Andronicus, Alexius Angeles^ 
who was older than his brother Isaac II., fled for safety 
to the court of Saladin, where he was residing when 
he heard of his brother's elcYation to the throne. On 
his way to Constantinople he was arrested by the 
Prince of Antioch, and owed his release from captiYity 
to his brother's affection. This, and many other acts 
of kindness, he repaid with the basest treachery. 
Eycu the corrupt society of Constantinople required 
that some attempt should be made to throw a veil 
over the ingratitude of the new emperor. To effect 
this Alexius III. assumed the name of Comnenus, 
insinuating thereby that his adoption into that im- 
perial house had dissolved his connection with the 
humbler family of Angelos, and that duty compelled 
him to dethrone a worthless sovereign like Isaac. 
Alexius, being tall and well made, and possessing an 
agreeable and dignified manner, as weU as more natural 
talent, a better education, and more command over 
his temper, appeared very much superior to his brother 

^ Nicetas, 290. 



BOOK III. until he mounted the throne. As emperor, however, 
"' '"' * he laid aside his hypocrisy, and was as careless of 
public business, as lavish in his expenditure, as igno- 
rant of military affairs, and as great a coward as Isaaa 
The first act of Alexius III. was to reward the 
officers and troops who had shared his treason, by 
distributing among them the money his brother had 
collected for carrying on the war against the Val- 
lachians. He then sent the army back to its usual 
quarters, and returned to the capital, leaving Thrace 
and Macedonia exposed to the incursions of the rebels. 
His wife Euphrosyne had prepared the senate and 
people to give him a favourable reception by a liberal 
distribution of bribes and promises of promotion ; and 
his coronation was performed in St Sophia's by the 
obsequious Patriarch. The behaviour of his horse 
alone caused some to reflect on the injustice of his 
conduct and the instability of his power. As he was 
about to mount on horseback at the steps of the great 
church, after the ceremony was finished, and return 
in procession to the palace, according to the immemo- 
rial usage of the Roman empire, his horse for a long 
time refused to allow him to mount ; and when at 
last he had gained his seat, it reared and plunged 
until the emperor's crown fell from his head, and was 
broken by the fall. It then completed the disaster 
by throwing the emperor himself on the ground. 
Alexius, however, escaped unhurt.^ 

The public treasury was quickly emptied by the 
lavish expenditure of Alexius and Euphros3nie ; and 
every species of extortion, injustice, and fraud, was 
then employed to collect money. When it was no 
longer possible to bestow money, places, pensions, and 
estates belonging to the imperial domain, were con- 

1 Nicetas, 294. 


ferred on some favoured courtiers ; and the right of a. d. 
collecting particular branches of the revenue in the "^^'^ ^ 
provinces was granted to others. Nicetas sarcasti- 
cally observes that Alexius III. would have granted 
golden bulls to plough the sea or pile Athos on Olym- 
pus, had any courtier presented himself to solicit such 
gifts. This conduct completed the destruction of 
that wonderful financial and governmental mechanism 
which the Byzantine government had inherited from 
the Roman empire. 

Euphros3nie, who was better acquainted with her 
husband's idle disposition than others, assumed a large 
share in conducting the business of the empire, and no 
minister dared to take any step without her approval. 
Her beauty, her talents, and her aptitude for business, 
gave her immense influence among the nobility; but 
her pride, extravagance, and licentiousness, often pro- 
duced scandalous quarrels with Alexius. Nothing is 
generally supposed to mark more strongly the degraded 
condition of the proudest nobles of the Byzantine em- 
pire, at this time, than the fact that members of the 
celebrated families of Comnenos, Dukas, Paleologos, 
and Cantacuzenos contended for the honour of carry- 
ing Euphrosyne in her litter at public ceremonies ; yet 
British peers now contend to be lords-in-waiting, their 
wives to be ladies of the bedchamber, and their daugh- 
ters to be bedchamber-women. The insolence and 
license of Euphros3nie at last roused the anger and 
jealousy of the emperor. Alexius ordered her para- 
mour, Yatatzes, to be assassinated, and her female 
slaves and the eunuchs of her household to be put to 
the torture. The beautifcd and accomplished Eu- 
phrosyne herself was expelled from the palace, clad in 
the dress of a menial, and immured in the convent of 
Nematorea, near the entrance of the Black Sea, with 
only two foreign slaves as her attendants. Six months* 


BOOK III. absence from court, however, taught her worthless hus- 
* ' band the value of her talents and energy. Everything 
fell into disorder; even Alexius was alarmed at the 
peculations of the courtiers; and Euphrosjme was rein- 
stated in all her former power, which she abused with 
all her former insolence. Her political energy, her 
superstitious follies, and her magnificent hunting par- 
ties excited the wonder of the inhabitants of Constan- 
tinople ; and as she rode along with a falcon perched 
on her gold-embroidered glove, and encouraged the 
dogs with her voice, and the curvetings of her horse, 
the crowd enjoyed the splendid spectacle, and only 
grave men like Nicetas thought that she was wast- 
ing the revenues which were required to defend the 

The venality and oppression of the imperial officers 
had caused so much discontent, that Alexius III., on 
ascending the throne, deemed it necessary to promise 
publicly that no official charge should be sold, but that 
all employments should be bestowed according to merit. 
This proclamation remained without effect. The em- 
peror paid no attention to business, Euphrosyne cared 
nothing for the people, the courtiers persisted in pro- 
fiting by their influence, and public employments con- 
tinued to be an object of traffic. The empress, however, 
at length perceived the danger of these proceedings, 
and attempted to effect some reforms. Before her dis- 
grace she persuaded Alexius to appoint Constantine 
Mesopotamites prime-minister, and this statesman suc- 
ceeded in suppressing much venality and flagrant job- 

1 The belief in magic and the power of incantations was so general that it 
excited little surprise at Constantinople when Euphrosyne, in order to insure 
the happy issue of some of her divinations, thought fit to order a bronze boar 
about to engage a lion, which formed one of the finest groups of ancient sculp- 
ture in the hippodrome, to be mutilated by cutting off its snout, and many 
other works of ancient art to be broken in pieces. Thus the Qreeks began to 
destroy the most precious remains of Hellenic taste before the Latins entered 
Constantinople. — Nicetas, 335. 


bing. But it required purer hands to root out the a.d. 
inveterate corruption of Byzantine society. Mesopota- ^^^^ ^ 
mites, while calling on others to respect the laws, vio- 
lated them himself. He thought that he could render 
his power more secure against the factions of the court, 
and at the same time extend his influence and patron- 
age, by entering the church. But as the ecclesiastical 
canons of the Eastern Church forbade the clergy to hold 
civil oflBces, Mesopotamites, on becoming a priest, ob- 
tained a dispensation from the Patriarch to violate the 
law. In order to secure an independent position, he 
got himself appointed Archbishop of Thessalonica; but 
by this step he lost the emperor's favour, and his ene- 
mies induced the Patriarch Xiphilinos to hold a synod, 
in which Mesopotamites was condemned for various 
crimes, and deposed from the archiepiscopal dignity, 
without being allowed an opportunity of refuting the 
charges brought against him. This contempt of justice 
on the part of the ecclesiastical dignitaries nourished 
the aversion felt by the people to the highest authori- 
ties both in the church and state ; and though no popu- 
lar cry was heard demanding reform either in church 
or state, the inhabitants began to feel as little inclined 
to defend the throne of their patriarch as the crown of 
their emperor. 

The utter neglect of the moral and religious condi- 
tion of the people by the hierarchy of the Eastern 
Church, during the twelfth century, proved a severe blow 
to the Greek nation. The provincial Greek saw no 
authority to which he could address himself in order 
to obtain justice against the violence and rapacity of 
the imperial officers, and consequently every friendly 
link which had once connected him with Constanti- 
nople waa now broken. The apostasy of the prelates 
from the cause of the people, and the ignorance and 
selfishness of the monks, left the Greeks, as a nation, 


BOOK III. exposed to greater oppression and injustice than any 
ciijiMi. Q^gy portion of the inhabitants of the empire; for they 
were less accustomed to bear arms» and their municipal 
institutions had been rendered completely subservient 
to the central administration. There is, perhaps, no 
feature in the history of the Christian church which 
suggests more melancholy reflections than the prostitu- 
tion of the Greek clergy to the imperial power during 
this century. When we behold a priesthood which 
founded the hierarchy of the church, gave laws to the 
Christian world, and curbed the political presumption 
of the Popes of Kome, perverting an influence it had 
justly gained to serve the vices of a corrupt court, we 
learn how small is the measure of irresponsible power 
which can be intrusted to individuals, however sancti- 
fied their occupations may appear.^ 

The anarchy that prevailed in the Byzantine admi- 
nistration increased daily. Michael Stryphnos, the 
admiral of the fleet, being sure of impunity, as he had 
married a sister of the Empress Euphrosyne, sold the 
stores &om the naval arsenal, and thought only of 
making as much profit as possible &om his office.^ 
The seas round the empire were filled with pirates, 
and their profits appeared so considerable that the 
Emperor Alexius himself at last turned pirate. He 
sent six galleys into the Euxine, under the pretext of 
saving the cargo of a vessel wrecked near Kerasunt, 
but he gave the admiral secret orders to make prizes 
of all ships bound for Amisos. This infamous expedi- 
tion proved extremely profitable to the court. Many 
merchants who were captured lost their whole fortunes, 

' $ee ibe disconne, De emendanda Vita Monachiea, by EusUthius, tbe 
celebrated Archbishop of Thessalonica, published by Professor Tafel. JBudathii 
metropolUoB Thetsalonieentit OpuictUa, fVanc, 1832, p. 214. 

' Nioetas, 848, whose eTidenoe concerning the excessive venality of the 
Byasantiue administration is valuable, as he was himself high in the service of 
Alexius III. 



and some, whose complaints it was feared might excite ^^^^^ 
dangerous inquiries, were murdered : others were put 
on shore, and found their way to Constantinople, where 
they vainly presented themselves at the courts of law 
and at the imperial palace, to demand justice. They 
carried their petitions to the staircase of the palace as 
suppliants, with wax tapers in their hands, and stood 
to receive the emperor in the vestibule of St Sophia's : 
but all their endeavours were fruitless ; it was a time 
when justice slept. Those merchants only who were 
subjects of Rokneddin, the sultan of Iconium, obtained 
an indemnity. The emperor, to avoid war, threw the 
whole blame of the piracies on his admiral, Constan- 
tino Francopulo, paid an indemnity to the merchants 
of Iconium, and promised to pay Bokneddin an annual 

The conduct of the emperor on the high seas was 
imitated by the nobles in the capital. A rich banker 
named Kalomodios was envied by those who often bor- 
rowed his money, and who for some time attempted 
to cheat or rob him without success. A length a party 
of courtiers entered his house and made him prisoner, 
declaring that they would not release him until he 
paid them a large ransom. The merchants of Con- 
stantinople, hearing of this insolent assault, repaired 
in a body to the residence of the Patriarch John 
Kamateros, the brother of the Empress Euphrosyne, 
but found him not inclined to assist them by active 
interference. In the mean time, however, the populace 
became aware of the conduct of their superiors, and 
determined to use the same license to enforce justice. 
They assembled before the Patriarch's palace, and 
informed him that they would plunder his residence 
and precipitate his holiness from the window, unless 

1 Nicetas, 841. 


BooKm. he obtained the liberation of Kalomodios. These 
CBMiM t. ^jjj^gj^^g opened the mind of the Patriarch to the claims 
of justice, and Kalomodios was released.* 

The foreigners in Constantinople conducted them- 
selves in the same lawless manner as the natives. The 
Venetians and Pisans engaged in bloody battles in the 
streets, which the Greeks viewed with pleasure, and 
the imperial authorities with indifference.^ Rebellions 
in the provinces were also as common as seditions in 
the capital.* 

Fortunately for the Byzantine empire, the Seljouk 
empire of Boum or Iconium had been divided among 
the numerous sons of Ealidy-Arslan II., or the Turks, 
by forming an alliance with the rebel Vallachian, Bul- 
garian, and Sclavonian population in Europe, might 
have succeeded in taking Constantinople before the 
arrival of the Crusaders and Venetians.* But Moeddin, 
the sultan of Angora, availed himself of the disorders 
in the Byzantine provinces to invade Paphlagonia and 
take the city of Dabyra. Alexius, after carrying on 
the war feebly for a year and a-half, purchased peace 
(a.d. 1197) by paying Moeddin five himdred pounds' 
weight of coined silver, by presenting him with forty 
pieces of the rich brocaded silk which was manufactured 
at Thebes for the emperor's especial use, and by engaging 
to remit to Angora an annual tribute of three hundred 
pounds' weight of silver.* In the following year Alexius 
involved himself in war with Gaiaseddin Kjsakhosrou I., 
who then reigned at Iconium, in consequence of the 
detention of two Arabian horses by the Turk. In one 

^ Nicetaa, 8S7. * Nioetas, 347. * Nicetas, 296, 298, S14, S39. 

* Nicetas, 836, gives an account of the division of the empire of Roum among 
the sons of Kilidy-Arslan. GaXaaeddin Kaikhosrou I., who succeeded his father 
Kilidy-Arslan in 1193, was dethroned by his brother Rokneddin, who originally 
received Tocat as his share of the empire, but conquered all his brothers. He 
died in 1202, when Qalaseddin Eaikhosrou again mounted the throne of 

» Nicetas, 297, 304. 


of his thoughtless fits of passion, the emperor ordered ^- ^ 

all the Turkish merchants at Constantinople to be im- " 

prisoned and their property to be sequestrated. The 
sultan's revenge was prompt and terrible. He broke 
into the vale of the Mseander, and ravaged the country 
to the walls of Antioch of Phrygia. Numbers of the 
inhabitants were carried away into slavery, but an 
agricultural colony of five thousand families was settled 
at Philomelium. They were famished with good farm- 
houses, and everything necessary for cultivating the 
land ; they were exempt from all taxation for five 
years, and after that period they were assured that a 
fixed contribution would be required without the arbi- 
trary additions levied in the Byzantine empire to cover 
the expense of collecting the public revenues. This 
humane policy inflicted a more serious wound on the 
empire than the devastations of the Turkish armies ; 
for many Christian families, worn out by the financial 
exactions of the imperial oflBcers, emigrated into the 
Turkish dominions ; and Nieetas informs us that whole 
towns were abandoned by the Greek inhabitants.^ 
Rokneddin subsequently expelled his brother Kaik- 
hosrou from Iconium, and compelled Alexius to pur- 
chase peace by the payment of a tribute. Kaikhosrou, 
after wandering from the court of Aleppo to that of 
Leo, king of Armenian Cilicia, reached Constantinople 
as a suppliant, where he was well treated, and remained 
until the death of Kokneddin, in 1202, enabled him 
again to moimt the throne of Iconium. He had after- 
wards an opportunity of repaying the obligation he 
had received as an exile when Alexius III. appeared as 
a fugitive at Iconium. 

The whole Vallachian, Bulgarian, and Sclavonian 
population between Mount Haemus and the Danube 

1 Nieetas, 321. 


BOOK lii. was now in anns to secure their independence ; and 
ciijiM*. ^ society was in very much the same condition in 
these provinces as in the other parts of the Byzantine 
empire, many of the native nobles aspired to the throne, 
or endeavoured to render themselves independent 
princes. The three Yallachian brothers, Peter, Asan, 
and John, however, maintained their position as the 
leaders of the rebellion, and Asan was considered the 
real founder of the YaUachian or second Bulgarian 
kingdom, though he was assassinated in the year 1196. 
His murderer was Ivan, a Bulgarian noble of great 
military talent, who expected to mount the throne ; 
but both the Bulgarians and Yallachians recognised 
Peter as king and successor to his brother. Ivan was 
compelled to seek safety in the Byzantine empire. 
Shortly after Peter was assassinated, but his youngest 
brother John, commonly called Joannice, who had 
escaped from Constantinople, where he was detained 
as a hostage, was acknowledged King of Bulgaria. 
Alexius intrusted the command of the passes of Mount 
Haemus to Ivan, who for three years (1197-1200) 
effectually protected Thrace and Macedonia from the 
incursions of the Yallachians. 

During this time, a Yallachian officer in the Byzan- 
tine army, named Chryses, who had refused to join his 
rebellious countrymen, was intrusted with the com- 
mand of the fortress of Strumitza. The anarchy he 
saw prevailing round him induced Chryses to declare 
himself independent ; and the Emperor Alexius III., 
hoping to obtain an easy victory over so weak an 
enemy, took the field against him in person. In the 
second campaign, a.d. 1199, the emperor besieged 
Chryses in the fort of Prosakon, which was situated 
on high rocks overhanging the Axios (Yardar). The 
Byzantine troops stormed the outer enclosure of Pro- 
sakon, and attacked the citadel with such vigour that 


their showers of missiles drove the enemy behind the a. n. 
ramparts. But the emperor had no scahng-ladders^ iismms. 
tools, or machines for an assault ready ; the plate, pro^ 
visions, wine, and baggage of the imperial household 
had been brought forward with the main body of the 
army, and the artillery and warlike stores had been left 
behhid until fresh means of transport should be col- 
lected. After a vain attack, in which many of the 
bravest soldiers and oflBcers perished, the troops werQ 
repulsed. Alexius, finding that it would require more 
time and labour to take Prosakon than he had expected^ 
concluded a treaty with Chryses, leaving him in pos^ 
session of Prosakon and Strumitza^ on condition that 
he acknowledged himself a subject, and held his com<^ 
mand as an oflBicer named by the emperor. 

The weak conduct of Alexius induced Ivan to aspire 
at forming an independent principality in Thrace and 
Macedonia. In 1200 he threw oflF his allegiance to 
the Byzantine empire, defeated an army commanded 
by the protostrator Manuel Kamytzes, whom he took 
prisoner, and, descending the valley of the Nestos, 
roused all the Bulgarian and Sclavonian population to 
revolt, from Mosynopolis to Xantheia, Mount Pangseum, 
and Abdera. 

Alexius took the field against Ivan in person, but 
the campaign was almost immediately terminated by 
a treaty. The emperor, after taking possession of the 
fort of Stenimachos, agreed to allow Ivan to remain as 
governor of the country he occupied, promised him 
his grand-daughter in marriage, and allowed him to 
assume the ensigns of a member of the imperial family. 
Ivan, deceived by these proofs of amity, visited Con- 
stantinople, where he was thrown into prison, Alexius 
perverting a passage of the psalmist as an excuse for 
his treachery. 

As soon as Ivan began to treat with Alexius, the 


BOOK in. Bulgarian guards of Manuel Eitmytzes carried their 
* ^'" * '' prisoner into the dominions of Joannice, king of 
Bulgaria. Chryses, however, paid his ransom, and 
Kamytzes was brought to Strumitza. Alexius, with 
his usual rapacity and injustice, had sequestrated the 
immense private fortune of Kamytzes as soon as he 
heard of his defeat ; and he now refused to repay 
Chryses 200 lb. of gold from the treasures he had so 
unjustly seized. Kamytzes, enraged at this act of 
injustice, formed an alliance with Chryses, and deter- 
mined to raise the ransom by plundering the empire. 
The two generals invaded Pelagonia, and took Prilapos. 
Kamytzes then marched into Thessaly, and extended 
his ravages over all Greece, exciting considerable com- 
motion in the Peloponnesus by his intrigues. In the 
mean time, a Cypriot of low rank, who was governor of 
Smolena, also raised the standard of revolt ; and the 
Patzinaks and Komans plundered the empire. Joan- 
nice, king of Bulgaria, availed himself of the general 
confusion to take possession of the important commer- 
cial cities of Constantina and Varna. 

The empire seemed on the eve of dissolution ; but 
the danger roused the ministers to activity, and the 
central government still exercised great power through 
the existing remains of the old Eoman administrative 
system. A powerful army was brought into the field. 
Peace was concluded with the King of Bulgaria, by 
sacrificing Constantina and Varna. Order was in 
some degree restored in the Peloponnesus and con- 
tinental Greece. Kamytzes was driven from all his 
conquests. The Cypriot was compelled to abandon 
Smolena, and escape into Bulgaria ; and Chryses him- 
self surrendered Strumitza to purchase pardon.^ 

1 The history of the Vallachian war, and of the operations against the rebels, 
is given in detail by Nicetas in his three books conoeniing the reign of 
Alexius III. 


The preceding review of the internal condition of a. d. 

. . 1195-1203 

the dominions of Alexius III., and of the conduct of ' 

his government, renders it by no means surprising 
that the Byzantine empire was destroyed by the first 
energetic attack made on the capital, in spite of the 
great resources of which the central administration 
could still dispose. The insolence with which the 
Crusaders had been generally treated was deeply 
resented by the nobility and clergy throughout west- 
em Europe. The Venetians had never forgotten the 
injustice they had suffered when the Emperor Manuel 
confiscated the property of their merchants, and they 
sought an opportunity for revenge; and the weak- 
ness of Alexius III. now invited every enemy of the 
Greeks to assail the empire. 

The Emperor Henry VI. of Germany, son of Fre- 
deric Barbarossa, having effected the conquest of 
Sicily by means of the ransom he had extorted from 
Richard, king of England, formed the project of in- 
vading the Byzantine empire. His ambition, which 
knew no bounds, easily furnished him with a pretext 
for war. He claimed all the country from Dyrra- 
chium to Thessalonica as having belonged to the 
Sicilian crown, and from which Isaac II. had driven 
the troops of WiUiam II. Alexius III., on mounting 
the throne, had purchased peace by promising to pay 
the German emperor sixteen himdred pounds' weight 
of gold.^ A considerable part of this treasure was 
collected, when the death of Henry VI. (a.d. 1197) 
relieved Alexius from all further alarm on the side 
of Germany and Sicily ; and the money was soon 
wasted in idle expenditure, and in the foolish war 

^ Nicetas Tenturee to say that this was the first occasion on which a Roman 
emperor condescended to purchase peace with money, 306. He has, however, 
recorded similar transactions in the preceding pages of his own work, 236, 256. 
This is a specimen of the veracity even of Uie better class of Byzantine his- 


BooKm. with the Sultan of Iconium about the two Arabian 
CBjiM * horses, which has been mentioned. Philip, who suc- 
ceeded his brother Henry VL, was the son-in-law of 
Isaac ; but he was involved in too many difficulties 
in Grermany to attempt anything against Alexius. 
The dethroned emperor and his son Alexius were 
consequently guarded with little care, and at last the 
young Alexius escaped to Italy in a Pisan ship.^ 

In the mean time the Venetians — ^who had sought 
in vain, by several embassies to Constantinople, to 
obtain payment of the sums which remained due to 
them under the treaty of indemnity concluded with 
the Emperor Manuel in 1174 — ^found it prudent, after 
the death of Henry VI., to conclude a commercial 
treaty with Alexius IIL, which was ratified by a 
golden bull of the emperor in 1199.^ Though the 
emperor granted them extensive conmierdal privileges^ 
and immunity from many duties paid by his Greek 
subjects, he treated them as vassals of the empire; and 
the treaty, whether because it failed to secure pay- 
ment of the indemnity, or because its provisions were 
not fairly carried into execution, seems to have in- 
creased rather than allayed the hostile feelings of the 
Venetians. Venice soon found allies to join her in 
seeking to obtain revenge by open war. 

When the leaders of the fourth crusade assembled 
at Venice to embark for Palestine, they were unable 
to pay the stipulated sum for transport. Thirty-four 
thousand marks of silver were wanting to complete 
their contract The Doge of Venice, Henry Dandolo, 
a blind hero of ninety years of age, then proposed that 
the republic should defer the claim, and allow the fleet 

^ Nicetas, 846. 

' The golden bolls of Isaac 11. and Alexius III., which require to be read 
' together, are given in a very corrupt state by Marin, Storia civile e poliiica 
dd Comnureio de* Venexiani, Tol iii., p. 282-827. Tafel has given a corrected text 
of that of Alexius III., Symbclarum eriUearum Geographiam Bysantinam tpee" 
taiUium Partes ducB, published in the Transactions of the Academy of Munich. 


to depart immediately, on condition that the Crusa- a. ». 
ders joined the Venetians in reducing the city of Zara^ ^ 96^3. 
which had lately rebelled, and admitted a Hungarian 
garrison.^ In vain the greatest of the popes, Innocent 
III., menaced the Crusaders with excommunication if 
they dared to attack a city belonging to a monarch 
who, like Andrew of Hungary, had taken the cross. 
Dandolo, who was as able a statesman as Innocent, 
and a man of a firmer mind, set the threats of the 
Papal See at defiance, and persuaded the superstitious 
barons that the Pope was acting from motives of 
policy, not religion. He succeeded in conducting the 
greater part of the Crusaders to Zara, which was soon 
taken ; and this unholy crusade commenced by plun- 
dering a Christian city, defended by the troops of a 
crusading king. 

While the Crusaders were passing the winter at Zara, 
ambassadors from the Emperor Philip of Germany 
solicited their assistance to restore his nephew, the 
young Alexius Angelos, and his father, Isaac II., to the 
throne of Constantinople. In spite of the opposition 
of many French nobles, the Belgians, Venetians, and 
Lombards determined to attack the Byzantine empire.* 
A treaty was signed, by which the Crusaders and 
Venetians engaged to replace Isaac II. and his son 
Alexius on the throne, and the young Alexius bound 
himself to pay them the sum of two himdred thou- 
sand marks of silver, and to furnish the whole ex- 
pedition with provisions for a year. He engaged, 
also, to acknowledge the papal supremacy, to accom- 

i Nicetas, 347 ; Villehardoin, 25, ecL Ducange ; Ramnosius, De Bello Con- 
stantinopofitano, 83, ed. 1634. Authors differ concerning the age and the 
blindness of Dandolo. The best authorities seem to be, Marin Sanudo, Vite d/ 
DuM di VtmezlOf p. 52G, who says he was eighty-fiye years of age when he was 
elected doge in 1192; and Villehardoin, who must often have spoken with 
his friend about tiie cause of his blindness. He says the doge was veiy old ; and 
although he had fine eyes, he was completely blind from the effect of a wound 
in his head. — P. 47, ed. Ducange, see note zzxiy. 

' Villehardoin, 35, ed. Ducange. Nicetas, 848. 


BooKnL pany the Crusaders in person to Egjrpt, or eke to 
ciuuM 2. fm-j^igij ^ contingent of ten thousand men to their 
army, with pay for a year ; and he promised to main- 
tain during his life a corps of five hundred cavalry 
in Palestine for the defence of the Latin possessions. 
Thus, says Nicetas, Alexius, who was as young in mind 
as in years, consented to change the ancient usages of 
the Komans.^ 

The storm that was gathering in the Adriatic seems 
to have caused Alexius III. very little alarm. He 
wrote to Pope Innocent IIL, who was regarded as the 
head of this crusade, requesting him to prevent the 
expedition from visiting the Byzantine empire, as 
such a proceeding would frustrate his plans for the 
deliverance of the Holy Land. To this letter Inno- 
cent returned an evasive answer, assuming the right 
of deciding to whom the Byzantine crown really 

The fleet sailed from Zara in the month of April 
1203, accompanied by the young Alexius, who joined 
the Crusaders with a numerous suite of German knights. 
It stopped at Dyrrachium, where the governor presented 
the keys to Alexius as the representative of his father, 
Isaac II. Corfu followed the example ; and Andros 
and Euboea, at which the expedition touched, changed 
their allegiance with equal readiness. No one showed 
any disposition to defend the rights of Alexius III, A 
prosperous voyage conducted the fleet within sight of 
Constantinople on the 23d June, and the troops were 
soon landed near Chalcedon, which they occupied, as 
well as Chrysopolis (Scutari). 

^ Nicetas, 348. 

> Oe$ta Innoeentii IIL, 8. 82, torn. 1, p. 48, 673, ed. Baluze. The Pope 
aathorised the Crusaders to plunder the luids of those who refused them pro- 
visions, particuhurly in the dominions of the Emperor of Constantinople ; 
adding, however, that the pillage must be committed with the fear of God, 
without injuring the person of any Christian, and with the resolution to make 
atonement — to the Church !— Compare Michaud, Bittoire da Croisadei, ul 
135; and the Gegta Innoeentii IIL, tom. 1, 48, ed. Baluze. 


Constantinople was as ill prepared to receive the ^-^ 

enemy as when it was saved by the valour of Conrad * 

of Montferrat, whose younger brother, Boniface, now 
commanded the army that had arrived to attack it. 
The imperial fleet had been so neglected that only 
twenty galleys could be rendered fit for service ; the 
discipline of the troops had been neglected ; and in 
spite of the great wealth and population of the city, 
few of the citizens were inclined to take up arms to 
defend the empire. Alexius III. endeavoured to nego- 
tiate, but all his offers were rejected, and the Crusaders 
transported their cavalry across the Bosphorus. The 
emperor had sent troops to prevent their landing ; but 
when the Venetian transports approached close to the 
shore above Galata, and let down the bridges which 
opened in the sides of the vessels, the cavalry bounded 
on shore, and mounted with such order and rapidity 
that the Greek troops were immediately put to flight, 
and the imperial tent formed part of the first spoils of 
the empire. Galata was protected by fortifications, of 
which the line may be traced in some parts of the 
existing walls. Towards the sea they were flanked by 
a great tower, to which one end of the immense chain 
that closed the entrance of the port was secured. The 
other end was made fast in the citadel within the walls 
of the great palace. The besiegers prepared to attack 
the tower, the fleet to force the chain, when an unfor- 
tunate sortie of the Greeks enabled the Latin troops to 
render themselves masters of the tower by entering it 
along with the fugitives. The chain was soon after 
broken by one of the heaviest of the transports, armed 
with an immense pair of shears, which enabled the 
Venetians to bring the whole weight of the ship, im- 
pelled by a strong wind, to press on the chain. It 
broke in two, and the fleet ranged itself in the port 
near the present dockyard. 


BOOK in. It now remained to stonn Constantinople, which 
*' '"' * had once enjoyed the reputation of being impregnable, 
and which had, on eleven great occasions, repulsed the 
attacks of powerful armies.^ But Alexius L had de- 
stroyed the charm of its impregnability, and its walls 
were in a neglected state. The Emperor Manuel 
during the second crusade, had found it prudent to 
strengthen the fortifications near the palace of Blachem 
at the northern angla It was on this side that the 
Crusaders determined to attack the city, while the 
Venetians assailed it near the centre of the port. The 
army, formed into six divisions, encamped on the hill 
above the modem suburb of Eyoub, with the powerful 
engines they had brought for the attack of Jerusalem.^ 
The youDg Alexius summoned the people of Constan- 
tinople to open their gates and replace his father on 
the throne ; but the people, who considered him an 
apostate from the orthodox church, treated his propo- 
sitions with scorn. The Crusaders, not being in suffi- 
cient force to occupy the whole line of the land wall 
from the port to the Propontis, contented themselves 
with guarding the gate near the palace of Blachem, 
and left the others open to the Greeks to make their 
sorties— convinced that, whenever they could meet the 
enemy in a fair field, they were sure of victory. But 
the garden walls and enclosures often enabled the 

^ The eleven sieges of Constantinople alluded to are — 1, a.i>. 61 6, by Kboa- 
roes of Penia, in the sixth year of Heraclius ; 2, a.d. 626, by the kakhan of the 
Ayars and the Persians, in the sixteenth year of Heraclius ; 8, a.d. 672, by 
Sophian, the general of Caliph Moawyah ; 4, a.d. 717, by Moslema, in the reign 
of Leo III. ; 5, aJ). 798, by the troops of Haroun Al Bashid, in the second year 
of Irene ; 6, a.d. 811, by Crumn, king of the Bulgarians ; 7, a.d. 821, by the 
rebel Thomas ; 8, a.d. 866, by the Russian pirates Ascold and Dir ; 9, a.d. 
913, by Simeon, king of the Bulgarians; 10, a.d. 1047, by the rebel Tomikioa; 
11, A.D. 1187, by the rebel Alexis Branas. 

* The yan of the Crusaders consisted of the Belgian chivalry under Baldwin, 
count of Flanders ; the rear, of Savoyards, Italians, and Germans, under the 
commandei^in-cbief, Boniface, Marquess of Montferrat. Of the four divisions of 
the main body, one consisted of Flemings under Henry, brother of Baldwin, 
and three of French under the Counts of Blois and St Pol, and of Matthew 


besieged to harass the Crusaders with sudden attacks, a. d. 
in which they lost many men. At last, on the 17th "^^^|^ 
of July, the Crusaders having effected a breach in one 
of the towers opposite their camp, a general attack was 
simultaneously made on the city both by sea and land. 

The Crusaders assaulted the breach with desperate 
courage, but after a long and bloody struggle they 
were repulsed by the English and Danish guards^ 
whose battle-axes were well adapted for defending 
the walls. The Pisan auxiliaries also distinguished 
themselves by their valour. The Emperor Alexius 
III. viewed the defeat of the Crusaders from a tower 
in the palace of Blachem, and he was urged by the 
officers of his suite to put himself at the head of the 
Varangian guard and attack the disordered Franks. 
A vigorous attack of the Byzantine army, under the 
command of his son-in-law, Theodore Lascaris, who 
was then at his side ready for action, might at this 
moment have saved Constantinople. But Alexius was 
incapable of any exertion. The Byzantine army was 
nevertheless drawn out in order of battle without the 

While the Crusaders suffered a defeat by land, the 
Venetians were completely successful by sea. They 
had constructed high towers of woodwork in some 
of their vessels, and these towers were furnished with 
bridges which could be let down on the walls of 
the city. Many other galleys, whose tops were filled 
with archers and crossbowmen, supported the attack, 
and swept the defenders from the fortifications. The 
old doge, in complete armour on the deck of his galley, 
encouraged his countrymen ; and when he gave the 
signal for the grand assault, he ordered the crew of his 
ship to press forward, in order to be the first to touch 
the walls. In a few minutes many bridges were firmly 
fixed on the battlements, and after a short and despe- 


BOOK iiL rate struggle the banner of Saint Mark was seen waving 
^"^* ^ on a lofty tower overlooking the centre of the port. 
Twenty-five towers and the connecting line of wall 
were soon in possession of the Venetians. But the 
narrow streets of the city, and the vigorous defence of 
the Greeks, who defended their property with more 
valour than they had defended the walls, arrested the 
progress of the Venetians. In order to penetrate into 
the centre of the city, and at the same time to keep 
open their communications with the port, they set fiie 
to the houses before them. The conflagration soon 
extended from the foot of the hill of Blachem to the 
monastery of Evergetes, and as far as the Devteron. 
At this critical moment the news reached Dandolo that 
the attack of the Crusaders had failed, and that the 
Byzantine army was issuing from Constantinople to 
assail their camp. He immediately abandoned all his 
conquests, and hastened with the whole Venetian force 
to support his allies. But when he reached the camp the 
danger was already past. The Emperor Alexius, after 
examining the Crusaders for some time, ordered his 
troops to re-enter Constantinople. 

During the following night he assembled a few of 
his confidential creatures, and, carrying ofi" as much of 
the imperial treasures and jewels as he was able to 
transport, he abandoned Constantinople, and escaped 
to Debeltos.^ 

^ Besides the contemporary historians Nicetas and Villehardoin, we hare 
original accounts of this siege of Constantinople in the letter of the Count of St 
Pol to the Duke of Brabant— D'Outremann, Cofutantinopolii Belgiea^ 705 ; and 
in the letter of the Crusaders, of which there is a copy addressed to Pope 
Innocent III. in the Qesta Innooentii III,, torn. i. 51, ed. Baluze ; and one 
addressed to Otho, king of the Romans, in Reusner*s EpuUla TurcteoR^ L 21. 

ISAAC 11. AND ALEXroS IV. 317 


THE BYZANTINB EMPIRE — ^A.D. 1203-1204. 1203-1204. 

Isaac II. beiitstatbd on the throne, with his son Alexius IT. as his col- 
GRATION OF Constantinople— Insurrection — Death of Isaac IL — 
Murder of Alexius IV. — Reign of Alexius V., (Murtzufhlos) — Treaty 


Emperor of Romania — End of the Byzantine empire. 

Before any of the ambitious nobles, who were usually 
watching for a revolution in order to place the imperial 
crown on their own heads, could take advantage of the 
cowardice and flight of Alexius III., the intendant of 
the imperial treasury, a eunuch named Constantine, 
contrived to induce the Varangian guard to replace 
Isaac II. on the throne, by promising them a liberal 
donative. The blind emperor was immediately con- 
ducted from the monastery where he had been latterly 
confined, to the palace, and proclaimed emperor, with 
his son Alexius IV. as his colleague. The administra- 
tion imderwent no change, and only those courtiers 
were driven from their places who were attached to the 
personal interests of the late emperor. Most of the 
Byzantine statesmen were satisfied with this arrange- 
ment. It purchased peace for the moment ; and it 
might, in their opinion, afford the Greeks, who prided 
themselves on their intellectual superiority over the 
Latins, an opportimity of obtaining some diplomatic 
advantage over their enemies. The presumptuous 
vanity of Greeks made them overlook the profound 
knowledge of Eastern affairs possessed by the Venetians, 
who equalled their enemies in cunning, and far sur- 
passed them in daring. Even the Crusaders, though 
incapable of steady counsels, had their suspicions fully 
awakened, and distrusted the intrigues of the Greeks. 


BOOK III. As soon, therefore, as it was known in the Latin camp 
CHunM a that Isaac IL was restored to the throne, they were 
prepared to meet with chicane in place of open hostili- 
ties. Alexius IV. was retained as a hostage until 
envoys of their own should bring back a report of the 
real state of affairs within the walls of Constantinople, 
and obtain from Isaac the ratification of the treaty 
concluded by his son at Zara. Isaac, on hearing the 
concessions made by his son, frankly informed the 
Crusaders that he saw no possibility of carrying the 
stipulations of the treaty into effect ; but with his 
accustomed weakness he immediately consented to 
ratify it, in order to have the pleasure of embracing 
his son. Alexius IV. then made his solemn entry into 
the capital on horseback, between Baldwin, count of 
Flanders, and the doge, Henry Dandolo, and on the 
1st of August he was crowned as his father's coUeagua 
The long imprisonment of Isaac IL, and the loss of 
his eyesight, had weakened his feeble mind ; while 
Alexius, an idle and ill-educated youth, destitute of 
natural talent, having contracted the habits and vices 
of the Franks, was incompetent to supply the deficien- 
cies of his father. Both emperors, however, were 
sensible of the insurmountable difficulties of their 
position ; they felt that they could not trust their own 
subjects, and they perceived the danger of relying on 
the Latins. The blindness of Isaac, and his constant 
attacks of gout, made him pay more attention to his 
own sufferings than to the dangers of the empire, A» 
human aid promised no relief in either case, he sought 
consolation from monks and astrologers, who flattered 
him with imaginary prophetic revelations, and the 
supposed results of divinatioiL These cursed monks> 
as Nicetas calls them, dined at the imperial table, 
where they consumed the finest fish of the Bosphoru^ 
and the richest wines of the Archipelago, which they 


paid for by persuading Isaac that lie was destined to a. d. 
recover his sight and health at the very time he was 
visibly sinking into the grave. The conduct of Alexius 
was as foolish as that of Isaac, and he was equally 
inattentive to public business. His thoughtless be- 
haviour rendered him contemptible both to the Greeks 
and Latins. He spent whole days iu the tents of the 
Crusaders, feasting and gambling with the young 
nobles, who, ia their revels, sometimes took the imperial 
bonnet, ornamented with precious stones, from his 
head, and replaced it with the woollen cap commonly 
worn by the Latins.^ 

It soon became evident that the Byzantine govern* 
ment was unable to satisfy the demands of the Cru- 
saders ; but the army and fleet were regularly supplied 
with provisions, and from time to time their leaders 
were furnished with such sums of money as the . em- 
perors were able to collect. These instalments were 
obtained from the money in the imperial treasury 
which had escaped Alexius III. and his courtiers, 
from sums raised by confiscating the private wealth 
accumulated by the Empress Euphrosyne and some of 
her relations, and by collecting the gold and silver 
plate, and the jewels in the imperial palaces, the 
monasteries, and even the churches. But all was in- 
adequate to discharge the debt, while the feelings of 
irritation between the Greeks and Latins were daily 
increasing. To avoid a collision, the Latin army was 
encamped close to Galata, and the soldiers were only 
allowed to visit Constantinople during the day in 
small numbers. 

The 29th of September, St Michael's Day, was never- 
theless fixed for the departure of the Crusaders ; and 
Alexius rV., in order to extend his power in the pro- 

^ Nioetos, 358. 


BooKHi. vinces, and collect additional sums of money, left 
^ '•'"•*^ Constantinople, accompanied by a considerable body 
of Latin troops under the command of the Marquess of 
Montferrat, a selfish intriguer, who increased the gene- 
ral difficulties by seeking to obtain clandestine profits 
for himself He cheated Alexius with as little delicacy 
as knavish associates usually display in their dealings 
with foolish spendthrifts. Before Alexius mounted 
the throne, the marquess obtained a promise of the 
investiture of Crete ; and he now exacted an engage- 
ment for the payment of one thousand six hundred 
pounds' weight of gold before accompanying the young 
emperor. The movements of the dethroned Alexius 
rendered it absolutely necessary to attack him without 
delay ; for, finding that he was not pursued, he had 
collected a considerable body of troops at Debeltos, 
occupied Adrianople, and secured his authority over 
the greater part of Thrace. The yoimg Alexius IV. 
soon drove him out of Adrianople, and took possession 
of Philippopolis and Kypsela ; but it was found that 
no money could be hastily collected in a province 
exhausted by continual hostilities, beyond what was 
required for supplying the immediate wants of the 
troops in the field. The marquess and his followers, 
who thought more of securing payment of their sub- 
sidies than of assisting the empire, soon compelled 
Alexius IV. to return to Constantinople, though their 
precipitate retreat left Alexius III. in possession of 
Mosynopolis and all Macedonia, and allowed Joannice, 
king of Bulgaria, who had crossed Moimt Hsemus in 
order to profit by the disturbed state of the Byzantine 
empire, to conquer many places in Thrace. 

The relations between the Byzantine government 
and the Crusaders were thus rendered every day more 
complicated and less friendly. The Crusaders insisted 
on the immediate fulfilment of all the stipulations of 


the treaty ; the emperors complained that the Crusaders a. d. 
left the provinces from wHch great part of the revenues ^'^'• 
were derived in the hands of the usurper, while they 
employed themselves in plundering the property of 
the ftiendly population in the vicinity of Constan- 
tinople. As the emperors were unable to pay the 
immense sums they had promised, and the Crusaders 
had really only fulfilled a part of what they had en- 
gaged to perform, nothing but mutual concessions 
could prevent a quarrel. The complicated nature of 
the obligations between the Byzantine government and 
the Crusaders and Venetians on one side, and between 
the feudal barons and the Venetians on the other, 
rendered a peaceful termination of the expedition 
almost impossible. Things were in that peculiar state, 
when nothing but great talents and great moderation 
on the part of three different powers could insure 
tranquillity. One man alone possessed the talents and 
the authority capable of preserving order; and this 
very man, Henry Dandolo, was eagerly watching for 
every event tending to hasten the collision which he 
looked forward to as inevitable. 

An accidental calamity tended greatly to increase 
the hatred of the Greeks to the Latins. On the 19th 
of August, while young Alexius was absent on his 
Thracian expedition, a dreadful fire destroyed a 
considerable part of Constantinople, adding greatly 
to the sufferings of the population, and to the em- 
barrassments of the government. This conflagration 
originated in the wilful act of a few Flemish soldiers, 
who had crossed the port to visit some of their country- 
men established as merchants in the empire. After 
drinking together until they were nearly dnmk, the 
Crusaders proposed attacking a Turkish mosque in the 
neighbourhood, and plundering the rich warehouses of 
the Turkish merchants who traded with Persia and 



BOOK ni. Egypt. Their pillage was intemipted by the Greeka, 
CH^uujx ^j^^ drove them back, and pursued them ao hotly 
towards the port, that the Flemings, in order to save 
themselves, set fire to some houses in their rear. A 
strong wind caused the conflagration to spread with 
frightful rapidity, and it burned for the space of two 
days. The entire breadth of the city, from the port 
to the Propontis, was laid in ashes, forming a belt of 
cinders a mile and a half in extent, over which it was 
necessary to pass from one part of the town to the 
other. The fire passed close to the Church of St Sophia^ 
destroying the richest quarter of the city. Splendid 
palaces, filled with works of ancient art and antique 
classic manuscripts, as well as warehouses stored with 
immense wealth, were destroyed by this conflagration, 
from the calamitous effects of which Constantinople 
never recovered.^ About fifteen thousand Latins had 
hitherto continued to reside in Constantinople as 
traders and artisans. The fury of the populace and 
the ruin of their houses now compelled them to seek 
refuge at Galata, under the protection of the Cru- 

The losses caused by this fire, and the hostile dis- 
position it caused in the breasts of the Greeks both 
against the emperors and the Latins^ rendered it 
impossible to make the pecuniary payments required 
by the Crusaders. But their threats compelled the 
Byzantine government to seize the golden ornaments 

^ Qibbon, xi. 222, and Lebeau, zrii. 120, in defianoe of the Mithority of con- 
temporary historians, say that this fire lasted eight days. Nioetas, Z56, saya 
it lasted all the night of the day on which it commenced, and all the following 
day and night Villehardoin, 82, says two days and nights. His text, as pub> 
lished by Ducange, says it extended a league in front; but the text published 
by Buchon says half a league. Dam and Michaud allowed themaehree to be 
misled by Cousin's translation of Nicetas into supposing that the Flemings 
attacked the Jews ; and Buchon propagates the error by reprinting the inaccu- 
rate translation of Cousin in his notes to Villehardoin. Nicetas uses the ex- 
pression a iynagogue of fA« Saracent for a mosque — T^ t&p «f '^VH* 


and immense silver candelabra that ornamented St 
Sophia's and other churches in the capital. The golden 
shrines that enclosed the relics of saints and martyrs, 
and the silver frames of holy pictures^ were melted 
down and handed over to the Venetian commis- 
saries. A new treaty was negotiated with the Cru- 
saders^ for the prolongation of their stay until the 
following Easter. The emperors engaged to defray 
the whole expenses of the army and fleet during the 
interval, though the Venetians exacted an additional 
freight for their ships. The young Alexius IV. promised 
to oblige the Patriarch to proclaim Innocent III. head 
of the whole Christian church, and wrote to that ambi- 
tious pontiff an assurance that he was labouring to 
reunite the Eastern Church under papal supremacy.^ 
Many of the Crusaders were extremely unwilling to 
remain, and their army showed signs of discon- 
tent. The Greeks, on the other hand, enraged at their 
sufferings, and the insults offered to their Church, 
began to think of resistance. They remembered that 
they had repulsed the attack of the land troops, and 
their behaviour indicated an approaching insurrection. 
Alexius rV. thought at times of placing himself at the 
head of the national party, and formed a friendship 
with Alexius Dukas Murtzuphlos, who was the most 
daring leader of the war party ; but his father warned 
him of the danger, and convinced him that, without 
the assistance of the Crusaders^ it would be impossible 
to defend the throne.^ 

^ AimaUt SeeUiiattici Beynaldif an. 1208, and in the portion of Innocent's 
Letten published by Brequiny and Dutheil. — Divlomata, Ac, lib. vi, ep. 210. 

' The monks and astrologers who snrroonded Isaac II. persuaded him to 
transport the bronse boar, which Euphrosyne had mutilated, from the hippo- 
drome into the palace, as an effectual means of taming the fury of the populace 
of Constantinople, of which they said this boar was the type. The populace 
really resembled the emperor in superstition so closely that they emuUtod his 
astrological follies. They conoeiyed a ftmcy that a splendid bronze statue of 
llinerva, thirty feet high, was the genius of the Latins, whom its attitude 
appeared to invite. This noble work of Hellenic art the Greeks destroyed. 

A. D. 



BOOK ni. Things at last reached a crisis. The Crusaders sent 
^ "' '"' * ^ a formal declaration of war to the emperors, in case 
they failed to fulfil the conditions of the new treaty 
and pay the money due. The people of Constanti- 
nople rose in rebellion, and declared that they would 
no longer submit to be governed by emperors who 
had sold the empire and the church to the Latins. 
On the 25th of January 1204 the people assembled in 
St Sophia's, and compelled the members of the senate, 
the clergy, and the principal nobles of the capital, to 
attend in order to elect a new emperor. But as every 
man of rank knew that the Latins would support the 
cause of Alexius IV., as a pretext for attacldng the 
city, no one was foimd who would accept the prof- 
fered sovereignty. For three days the confusion 
continued, until a yoimg man named Nikolas Eioiavos 
was anointed emperor against his will. Isaac II. died 
during this period of anarchy. Alexius IV. sent to 
the Marquess of Montferrat, and made arrangements 
for introducing the Crusaders into Constantinople ; 
but Alexius Murtzuphlos, hearing of this^ placed him- 
self at the head of his military partisans, and, having 
obtained admittance to the Emperor Alexius late in 
the evening, frightened him with dreadful accounts of 
the conduct of the enraged populace. The shouts of 
the followers of Murtzuphlos were heard at the palace 
gates. The fate of Andronicus presented itself to the 
imagination of Alexius, who begged Murtzuphlos to 
assist him in escaping to the Latins. The traitor, 
after receiving the ensigns of the imperial rank from 
the hands of the confiding prince, led him by long 
— ^ galleries to the dungeons of the palace. Alexius 

NioetaB has given us an interesting description of this statue, which MQller, 
Handbuch der AriJuBologie der Kuntt,, 539, thinks resembled the monument 
figured in the DfnkmdUr, tweiu JUihe, No. 217 ;— see also Clarac. Mu94« de 
Sadpt., pL 820, n. 871. It must hare differed from all tiiose figured in the 
Denhmdier ; and No. 207 approaches nearest to the description of Nicetas. 

ALEXIUS V. (mTJRTZUPHLOS), A.D. 1204. 325 

Murtzuphlos then returned to his followers, by whom 
he was proclaimed emperor ; and the choice was rati- 
fied by all the troops. Kanavos was compelled to 
descend from the throne ; and Alexius IV. was strangled 
in the dimgeon to which he had been conducted, after 
a reign of six months and eight days.^ 

Alexius v., who placed himself on the throne by 
this daring act of rebellion and assassination, was a 
member of the great family of Dukas, which had given 
two emperors to the East, and was closely allied with 
the families of Comnenos and Angelos. He had 
received the by-name of Murtzuphlos from his school 
companions on account of his large overhanging eye- 
brows.2 At this time he was generally looked up to 
by his countrymen as the bravest solcHer among the 
nobUity, and he had given proofs of his valour in 
several skirmishes with the Crusaders. His enemies 
admit that he was indefatigable in his exertions to 
re-establish order, and put the fortifications in a state 
of defence. He restored the discipline of the troops 
by appearing constantly at their exercises. He pre- 
served tranquillity among the populace by traversing 
the city frequently on horseback, by night as well as 
by day, with his mace-of-arms in his hand, fie 
repaired the walls, strengthened the towers, improved 
the machines for throwing missiles, and formed scaf- 
folds for new engines on the towers most exposed to 
attack from the side of the port, in order that they 
might command the decks of the Venetian ships. 

As the military energy of the Byzantine empire, like 
that of modem states, depended in a great measure on 
its financial resources, and the circumstances under 
which Murtzuphlos mounted the throne rendered it im- 
possible for him to think of imposing any new tax, 

> Nicetas, 861. 

' Duoange, Notes to VillehardoiD, No. cxvi., p. 307, ed. Par. 

A. D. 


BOOK m. even though it was well known that the treasuiy was 
c«jiKi^8. 3jnpty^ \^Q jjoqIj measures for raising the supplies neces- 
sary for the preparations he was carrying on, and for 
the payment of the mercenary troops, by sequestrating 
the fortunes of all who had acted as intendants of 
finance, as collectors of the imperial revenue, or as 
government contractors, whose property was generally 
confiscated on the ground that they were deeply in* 
debted to the public. This mode of raising money was 
popular in the Roman empire in every age, &om the 
time of Augustus Caesar to that of Dukas Murtzuphlos. 
But it was impossible to infuse a warlike spirit into 
the breasts of the Greeks of Constantinople. Botli 
nobles and citizens were equially disgusted with the 
severe military discipline introduced by the new em- 
peror, who compelled every Greek who was unfit to 
perform the duties of an officer, or to serve in the 
cavalry, to range himself in the infantry and do duty 
on the walls. The merchants and shopkeepers were 
averse to serve in person, because they paid exorbitant 
taxes in order that government might find mercenary 
troops for their defence ; and they were ashamed of 
the ridicule to which they exposed themselves by their 
awkwardness in military array beside the English, 
Danes, and Pisans of the imperial guard, who moved 
in complete armour as easily as the citizens in their 
holiday garments. Many Greeks, too, of every class, 
detested the imperial government, and had lost their 
attachment to the hierarchy of the church. Some 
looked forward to their destruction as a necessary re- 
form ; many viewed it with indifierence, and some 
with pleasure.^ 

For two months the new emperor and the Crusaders 
prepared themselves with all their energy for the 

^ See what Nicetas fiajB of the dispoution of the country people rotmd Con- 
Btantinople, 382. 


struggle which was to decide the fate of the Byzantine a. d* 
empire. Murtzuphlos, by repeated skinniflhes, ably ^ ^^^^^^ ' 
conducted, succeeded in circumscribing the foraging 
parties of the Crusaders in the immediate vicinity of 
the capital, and Henry of Flanders was obliged to 
march with a large body of cavalry as far as Philea on 
the Black Sea, in order to collect a supply of provi- 
sions. The emperor attempted to surprise this divi- 
sion on its return ; but the Belgian soldiers of Henry, 
though suddenly attacked, closed their ranks without 
confusion, and completely defeated the Greeks. Twenty 
of the bravest horsemen of the imperial guard were 
slain in the first charge ; and the grand standard of 
the Virgin, which always accompanied the emperor 
when he took the field in person, and which was re- 
garded by the people as the talisman of the empire, 
was taken by Henry. The Byzantine troops suflFered 
so severely in this encounter that Murtzuphlos did not 
again venture to lead them without the walls.^ 

The Crusaders and Venetians had prepared every- 
thing for a new assault by the end of March 1204. 
A council was then held to arrange the manner in 
which the plunder of Constantinople was to be di- 
vided, and to settle the partition of the Byzantine 
empire. The treaty then signed put an end to the 
Eastern Roman Empire ; for neither the Latin empire 
of Bomania, established by the conquerors, nor the 
Greek empires of Nicsea and of Constantinople which 
succeeded, have a just claim to be considered the legi- 
timate representatives either of the policy or of the 
dignity of the Byzantine government. 

This treaty was concluded by the Doge Henry Dan- 
dolo on the part of the Venetians, and by Boniface, 

> The Latin hiBtorians aoouBe Aleziiifl V. of a treaolierouB attempt to get the 
chielb of the crusade into his hands before they were aware that Alexius IV. 
was dethroned ; and Nioetas chaigee the Latins with a treacherous attempt to 
seiie Ale^uB V. during a conference with the doge. 


BOOK HI. marquess of Montferrat, Baldwin, count of Flanders, 
CMjiM 8. Lo^ count of Blois, and Henry, count of St Pol, on 
the part of the Crusaders, in order to avoid all dis- 
putes, should it please God, for His honour and glory, 
to grant them the victory over their enemies. The 
Venetians very naturally considered that the freight 
of the expedition was the first debt which it was the 
duty of the Crusaders to discharge. But to prevent 
the whole booty from being absorbed by this claim, it 
was provided that the Venetians were to receive three 
quarters of the plimder, and the Crusaders one, until 
the whole sum due to Venice was discharged. In 
every case the rations necessary for the whole expedi- 
tion were to be issued from the common stock accord- 
ing to the established rule. The Venetians were to 
enjoy all the privileges in the conquered territory 
which they possessed in their own coimtry, and were 
to be governed by their own laws. Twelve electors 
were to be chosen as soon as Constantinople was taken, 
who were to elect an emperor ; and they were to choose 
the man best able to govern the new conquests for the 
glory of God and the advantage of the Holy Roman 
Church : six of these electors were to be named by the 
barons, and six by the Venetians. The emperor was 
to possess as his immediate domain the palaces of 
Blachem and Bucoleon, with one quarter of the Byzan- 
tine empire ; the remaining three quarters were to be 
equally divided between the Crusaders and the Vene- 
tians. The clergy of the party to which the emperor 
did not belong were to elect the patriarch of the 
Eastern Oburc^ and the ecclesiastics of the two parties 
were to occupy the benefices in the territories assigned 
to their respective nations. The two parties bound 
themselves to remain united for another year — that is, 
until the 31st of March 1 205 ; and all who then estab- 
lished themselves ia the empire were to take an oath 

PARTITION TREATY, A.D. 120:1. 829 

of fealty, and do homage to the emperor. Twelve com- 
missioners were to be chosen by each party, in order to 
divide the conquered territory into fiefs, and determine 
the service due by the crown vassals to the emperor. No 
person belonging to any nation at war with the parties 
to the treaty was to be received in the empire as long 
as hostilities lasted. This stipulation was evidently 
inserted by the Venetians, and directed against their 
great commercial and political rivals^ the Grenoese. 
Both parties were to exert all their influence to induce 
the Pope to ratify and confirm the treaty, and excom- 
municate any who should refuse to execute its stipula- 
tions. The emperor was to swear to observe the treaty ; 
and in case it should be found necessary to make any 
modifications in it before his election, the Doge of 
Venice and the Marquess of Montferrat, with the twelve 
electors, were empowered to make the change required. 
The doge, Henry Dandolo, as a personal honour, was 
dispensed from taking an oath of fealty to the future 
emperor for any fief or office he might hold.^ 

It appears that an act of partition, describing the 
territories comprised in the quarter of the empire 
assigned to the emperor, in the quarter and half quar- 
ter assigned to the Venetians, and in the quarter and 
half quarter assigned to the Crusaders, was drawn up 
at the same time as the treaty. But the imperfect 

^ This treaty is given in the Gesta InnoeeiUU III,f xcii., torn. 1 , 55, ed. Baluze ; 
and in Muratori'B notes to the Chronicle of Andrea Dandolo, Ber, Ital 8er%p., xii. 
326. Tafel, in his Symbolarum crUicarum Qtographiam ByzaiUinam tpeo- 
tantium Partes ducBj has devoted the second part to an examination of the act 
of partition annexed to this treaty ; and he has given the text both of the 
treaty and the act of partition. He affords, however, no satis&ctory explana- 
tion of the numerons omiesions and imperfections of the act of partition. 
Ramnnsins, De Bdlo ConstaiUtnopolUaKO, p. 1 69, gives us also a commentary on 
the treaty, in which there is some political information, but many geographical 
errors. See also p. 223, ed. 1 634. The Memoir of Tafel is a valuable contri- 
bution to the materials for a geographical account of the Byzantine empire. 

The title of Doge of Venice, derived fi"om this treaty, is ^ven by Acro- 
polita, when he mentions that the Crusaders who received a like share with 
the Venetians, acquired rb rcraprw Koi toO Tcrdprov rh rjiiurv. QuartiB et 
dimidii quarts totius imperii Romanise dominum; G. Acropolita, 6, ed. Par. 


BooKm. copies of this act which have been preserved, the 
* ^ '"'* *' manner in which the geographical names are dis- 
figored, and the modifications to which it was imme- 
diately subjected, in consequence of disputes, exchanges, 
and sales of the various lots, render i^e fragments we 
possess a doubtful authority for determining the ori- 
ginal partition of the empire.^ 

On the 9th of April everything was ready for the 
assault, and at daybreak the whole force of the expe- 
dition moved forward to attack the towers on the side 
of the port, for it seemed doubtful whether the dimin- 
ished numbers of the land forces would be able to 
make any impression on the numerous mercenaries 
who manned iJie land wall under the eye of a leader 
like Murtzuphlos. On the other hand, tiie long line of 
wall towards the port offered no flank defences beyond 
the slight projection and elevation of its towers ; while 
the assailants could take advantage of the quays for 
landing merchandise in making their attack with 
ordinary scaling-ladders, and concentrate an over- 
whelming flight of missiles on any given point from 
three hundred engines planted on the de(^ of their 
ships. Murtzuphlos had, however, done mudi to 
strengthen this part of the fortifications, and it was 
found well prepared to ofi!^ a desperate resistance. 
The assault was commenced with the greatest fury, 
and persisted in with the fiercest perseverance. Many 
Crusaders landed on the quays, and planted their 
ladders against the walls, but every assailant who 
reached their summit was hurled down headlong. The 
machines of the defenders broke the yards of those 
ships that approached the towers, and swept the men 

^ We need not wonder at the ignorance of the Cmaadera and Venetiana, who 
divided provinces without knowing their boundaries ; we may remember the 
treaty concerning the frontiers of the British Possessions in North America 
and the United States. Even at the present day we have seen mercanlilA 
companies proposing to make canals from the Atlantic to the Pacific through 
districts that had not been surveyed. 


from their decks. At length, after a contest of many 
hours, and the loss of some of their bravest soldiers, 
the Crusaders were obliged to retire. 

Bat the assailants were not men to be easily dis- 
couraged by danger, and they determined to renew 
the attack on the 12th of April. The interval was 
employed in preparing more powerful means of esca* 
lade. The largest ships of the fleet were bound to- 
gether in pairs, their decks were protected by stronger 
bulwarks, and their tops were enlarged. The fleet, 
ranged in successive lines, was enabled to bring an 
overwhelming force against the defenders of any single 
tower. The attack commenced by an unremitted 
Tolley of missiles against the points which it was pro- 
posed to storm. When the defenders were compelled 
to conceal themselves from this volley, the ships des- 
tined for the assault were impelled rapidly to the wall, 
aided by a strong north wind, which carried the 
heaviest double ships with rapidity alongside the 
towers. The Pilgrim and the Paradise were the first 
to plant their platform on a Byzantine tower, and a 
hand of Venetians and Crusaders sprang in eager emu- 
lation at the same instant on the hostile ramparts. The 
shout of victory spread instantaneously through the 
host, and four towers were immediately stormed. In 
a few minutes, three of the city gates were thrown 
open, and the knights began to land their horses from 
the ships in the rear. Murtzuphlos had pitched his 
tents and encamped the imperial guard at the monas- 
tery of Pantepoptes, in the open space leffc by the first 
conflagration. He saw the victory gained before it 
was in his power to send succours to the defenders ; 
and when the hostile banners were already floating 
from the towers, his guards refused to march against 
the victorious enemy, and fled with their emperor to 
the palace of Bucoleon. The conquerors immediately 



BOOK III. occupied his encampment, and took possession of the 
ciijiMj. neig£i)Q^jfiiig palace of Blachem ;^ but the day was 
too far spent to do more than establish themselves 
firmly in the positions they had seized. The leaders 
deemed it imprudent to allow any part of their troops 
to advance into the streets of a city which had not yet 
capitulated, and to which the imperial palace formed 
a strong citadel, garrisoned by a numerous body of 
well-disciplined mercenaries. To increase the confi^on 
among the Greeks, and prevent their attacking the 
camp during the night, the Crusaders set fire to the 
houses on their flank. This third conflagration de- 
stroyed the eastern part of the city beyond the monas- 
tery of Evergetes, and extended near the sea as far 
as the Drungarion. Villehardoin says that the three 
fires lighted by the Crusaders destroyed more houses 
than were contained in the three largest cities in 

The Emperor Alexius V., finding no one disposed to 
defend his throne, embarked in a galley with the Em- 
press Euphrosyne and her daughter Eudocia, whom 
he had married, and fled from the capital^ In the 
mean time, the people of every rank crowded to St 

^ The Bite of the xnonastexy of Pantepoptes is marked by the tnoeque Fetiyl; 
and the neighbouring mosque, Kilisi, is supposed to mark the position of the 
headquarters of the Latins on the night after their victoiy. 

* Nicetas, 866 ; Villehardoin, 101, ed. Duoanga 

' The imperial fiunilies of Comnenos and Angelos present us scenes as tragi- 
cal as anything in the ancient drama " presenting Thebes and Pelops' line." 
Alexius II. and his sister, the beautiful Maria, were murdered by Andronicus 
I., whose horrid death was accompanied by the murder of his sons. Isaac, the 
tyrant of Cyprus, the blind Isaac IL, the fugitiTe Alexius III., the murdered 
Alexius IV., and Eudocia, the daughter of Alexius III., all bore a part in 
fearful tragedies. Eudocia was married to Simeon, king of Servia, who retired 
into a monastery on Mount Fspykes. His son Stephen, struck with the beauty 
of his young stepmother, married her, and had children by the marriage. A 
scandalous quarrel, however, arose ; he divorced her, and expelled her from 
the palace, almost naked. As nobody dared to assist her, she would probably 
have perished, had not Fulk, the king's brother, sent her to Constantinople. 
Murtssuphlos, who had already divorced two wives, married her; and i&er 
the execution of Murtzuphlos, she married Leo Sguros, the chief of Argos, 
Nauplia, and Corinth. The complaint of Nicetas (echoed by Dr Johnson, in 
his tragedy of Irene) that no pKMligies foretold the fall of the Byzantine em- 
pire, IS certainly misplaced.— Nicetas, 342, 867; Ducange, Fam,Aug. Byz,, 205. 


Sophia's, and exhibited a strange example of the poli- a. d. 
tical weakness and demoralisation caused by the com- ^ ^^^^^ ' 
plete centralisation of all executive action. No one 
thought of taking advantage of the numerous means 
of defence which were still available. The election of 
a new emperor was necessary to secure obedience to 
any order, and even in this scene of anarchy two 
claimants presented themselves as pretenders to the 
throne. Fortune determined the election in favour of 
Theodore Lascaris ; but after a vain attempt to rally 
the imperial guard, and excite the Greeks to active 
resistance, he found it necessary to escape to Asia as 
soon as morning dawned ; adding a third to the fugi- 
tive emperors who were wandering the Byzantine pro- 
vinces in search of their empire. 

The Crusaders and Venetians met with no further 
resistance. The Marquess of Montferrat occupied the 
palace of Bucoleon, and Henry of Flanders that of 
Blachem. The Byzantine troops laid down their arms 
on receiving assurance of persoiial safety. Guards 
were then placed over the imperial treasury and the 
arsenal, but the troops and sailors were allowed to 
plunder the city without restraint. The insolence of 
victory was never more haughtily displayed ; every 
crime was perpetrated without shame. The houses of 
the peacefol citizens were plundered, their wives dis- 
honoured, and their children enslaved. Churches and 
monasteries were rifled ; monuments of religious zeal 
were defaced; horses and mules were stabled in temples 
whose architectural magnificence was unequalled in the 
rest of Europe. The ceremonies of the Greeks were 
ridiculed ; the priests were insulted ; the sacred plate, 
the precious shrines in which the relics of martyrs and 
saints were preserved, the rich altar-cloths, and the 
jewelled ornaments, were carried oS. The soldiers and 
their female companions made the Church of St Sophia 


BOM m. the Boene of licentious orgies ; and Nicetas recoimttf 
Jim with grief and indignation that *'one of the priestesBes 
of Satan "" who accompanied the CruBaders seated her- 
self on the Patriarch's throne, sang ribald songs before 
the high altar, and danced in the sacred edifice, to the 
delight of the infuriated soldiery. It is not necessary 
to detail all the miseries suffered by the unfortunate 
Greeks ; Pope Innocent III. has left a description of 
the scene so horrible that it will hardly bear a literal 
translation.^ The age was one of fierce wars and 
dreadful calamities ; but the sack of Constantinople so 
far exceeded everything else that happened, both in 
its glory and shame, as to become the favourite theme 
of popular song and dramatic representation through* 
out the known world.^ Villehardoin says that every 
Crusader occupied the house that pleased his £uicy; 
and men who the day before were in absolute poverty, 
suddenly found themselves possessed of wealth, and 
living in luxury.' 

Some of the Latin clergy vainly endeavoured to 
moderate the fury which their own bigoted precepts 
had instilled into the troops ; but many thought only 
of collecting a rich booty of relics, and showed them^ 
selves as little scrupulous as the Venetians and soldiers 
in robbing churches and monasteries.^ Well might 
the Greeks contrast the conduct of this army of the 
soldiers of Christ, under the especial care of its holy 

* lUudqne longe gravioB repntatar qnod qoidam nee religioni nee actoti nee 
Mxui pep«roerunt» sed fonicatiooeB, adulteria et inoeetoB in oonlis omtuam 
ezeroentes, non solum maritatas et Tiduas, sed et matronaB et Tii^neB Deoque 
dicatas expoenenint spurcitiiB gardonum. Nee imperialee sufTecit diWtias 
ezhanrire ac diripere apblia migonim paritetque minonim, nisi ad Wecoleaianim 
thesauroe, et quod graviua est, ad ipssrum posseesionee extenderetsB manus 
TtetTM, tabulaa axgentess de idtsiibaa lapientes, et Tiolatia aaetmriis. craoei, 
icoDss et reliquiaa asportantes, ut GnBOorum Ecclesis, qutntumeanque pene- 
eutionibua affligatur, ad obedientiam apostolicie sedis redire contemnat, qu« in 
LaUnis son nisi proditionia exempla et opera tenebnrum aq>ezit» ut meiito 
illos abfaoneat plusquam oanee. — G€tta JtmocentU JIL, p. 57, ed. Baluie. 

i Nioetaa, 871. * VtUehaidoin, 104, ed. Dooaoga. 

* An aooonnt of these derioal robberies is giTen by Michaud, Biaioin det 
CroiaadeB, iii. 269. 


father the Pope, with the behaviour of the MuasiUman 
troops under the command of Saladin, who conquered 
Jerusalem. The Christians had bound themselves by 
an oath not to shed the blood of Christians ; they had 
made vows of abstinence and chastity. What atten- 
tion they paid to these vows when they turned their 
arms against a Christian state, which for many cen- 
turies had formed the bulwark of Europe agaiast the 
invasion of the Saracens, is recorded by the Pope 

The chiefs of the expedition at last determined to 
re-establish order; but before it was possible to restore 
the salutary restraint of military discipline, they were 
obliged to put several of their mutinous followers to 
death, and the Count of St Pol hung a French knight 
with his shield round his neck. This severe punish- 
ment was inflicted, not for an abuse of the rights of 
conquest towards the defenceless Greeks, but as an 
act of public vengeance against a traitor who had 
de&auded his companions by concealing a portion of 
the plunder. Thajiks were then offer^ up to (Jod 
with the greatest solemnity for the glorious conquest 
of a city containing half a million of inhabitants by an 
army composed of twenty thousand men ; and " God 
wills it " was fervently shouted by the pious brigands. 

A proclamation was published, ordering all the booty 
to be collected in three of the principal churches of the 
city, and promising personal protection to the inhabit- 
ants. Most of the Byzantine nobility availed them- 
selves of this opportunity to escape from the city. 
Nicetas the historian, who for the last century has been 
our best guide in the Byzantine annals, has left us an 
account of his own adventures during the catastrophe 
of his country. The palace he occupied before the 
calamities commenced was situated in the quarter 
Sphorakion, near St Sophia's, and was enriched with 

A. D. 


BOOK iiL many treasures of ancient art and literature. It was 
cm^at^z. ^ggjjpQyg^ \j^ tjj^ second conflagration, and the historian 
then retired to a smaller dwelling in a narrow street. 
In this house many of his friends sought refuge ; and 
a Venetian whom he had protected in the days of his 
official power now armed himself as a CJrusader, and 
guarded the entrance as if it was his own quarters. 
This succeeded for some days ; but as soon as the pro- 
clamation was known, Nicetas and his Mends resolved 
to quit Constantinople, and abandon their property 
in order to escape from insult. On Saturday, the fifth 
day after the capture of the city, while a cold wind 
from the Black Sea gave the morning a wintry aspect, 
Nicetas, accompanied by his pregnant wife, and sur- 
rounded by his children and friends, walked through 
the streets of the capital to gain the Golden Gate, 
where some wretched conveyance might be obtained, 
by means of which they could reach Selymbria. 
Several of the party carried infants in their arms, 
for their servants and slaves had deserted them. The 
young women of rank and beauty were placed in the 
midst of the band of exiles, their faces disfigured with 
dust, and their figures concealed in unsightly dresses. 
In this way the fugitives passed many bands of soldiers 
without interruption, but when they reached the Church 
of St Mokios a soldier seized a beautiful girl, and car- 
ried her ofi* by force. The father, feeble from sickness, 
was unable to pursue the ravisher, and he implored 
Nicetas to save his daughter. The historian followed 
the soldier, imploring all the Latins he met to protect 
the honour of an innocent family, and save a noble 
lady from insult and slavery. He appealed to the 
proclamation which it was their duty to respect, until 
his eloquent and pathetic gestures, rather than his 
words, awakened compassion. A party of Crusaders 
accompanied Nicetas to the house into which the 


maiden had been carried, where they found the robber a. d. 
standing at the door. He denied all knowledge of ^ ^^^^ ' 
the transaction ; but when the house was searched, the 
young lady was found, and conducted back to her 
father. The sad procession soon after reached the 
Golden Gate, and gained the road to Selymbria. It 
was joined by the Patriarch, now travelling forth, like 
a true apostle, without attendants and sumpter-mules, 
and as destitute as the rest of his companions. The 
exiles reached Selymbria in safety ; but the people 
generally treated their suflferings with derision, by 
which they were more galled than by the insolence 
of the Franks.! 

The financial oppression of the Byzantine govern- 
ment, the vices of the court, and the crimes of the 
recent emperors, were attributed by the people to the 
meanness and rapacity of the nobility and dignified 
clergy, who were supposed to have upheld the vicious 
fabric of the imperial administration for their own 
profit. The people, therefore, expressed their satisfac- 
tion in rude terms when they saw princes, patriarchs, 
and senators, reduced to the state of poverty in which 
they were themselves living. The calamity appeared 
to them an equitable dispensation of Divine justice. 
Nor was this judgment confined to the lower classes ; 
on the contrary, it was the deliberate opinion of many 
Greeks throughout the provinces that the ruin of the 
Byzantine empire was caused by the base complicity 
of the senate and the clergy in all the abuses and 
rapacity which haS disgraced the public administra- 
tion since the death of Manuel I. Nicetas complains 

' Nicetas retired to Nicsea, and oocnpied an honourable position at the ooort 
of Theodore I. (LAcicaris). Several of his orations and letters exist in MS. at 
Venice, the publication of which would throw some additional light on the 
state of society, the history, and the chronology of the empire, from the aoces* 
sion of Isaac II. to the middle of the reign of Theodore L — Or€eei codicet 
Mantucripti apud Nanioa patrieioi Vetutcu auervaii, dacripH a J. Atoytio 
MingareUio. Bononise, 1784, 4to, p. 462. 



BOOK III. bitterly of the injustice of this opinion, and endeavours 
CHjruj 8. ^ tiu^^ the blame of the taking of Constantinople on 
the cowardice of the troops and the worthlessness of 
their officers ; but it is certain that the civil govern- 
ment was more to blame than the troops for the fall 
of the empire.^ 

The first care of the victors was to divide the 
plunder accumulated in the three churches they had 
selected for magazines. Sacred plate, golden crowns^ 
images of saints, shrines of relics, candelabra of precious 
metals, statues of ancient gods, precious ornaments of 
Hellenic art and of Byzantine jewellery, were heaped 
up with coined money from the imperial treasury, and 
with silk, velvet, embroidered tissues, and jewels^ col- 
lected from the warehouses of merchants, from the 
shops of goldsmiths, and by domestic spoliation. The 
booty, in spite of fraud, concealment, waste, and con- 
flagration, amounted to three hundred thousand marks 
of silver, besides ten thousand horses and mules which 
had belonged to the cavalry or the imperial stables.^ 
Baldwin of Flanders, the future emperor, declares that 
the riches of Constantinople equalled the accumulated 
wealth of all western Europe.^ The spoil was first 
divided into two equal parts, and the Crusaders then 
paid the Venetians from their portion the sum of fifty 
thousand marks, according to the original convention 
concluded at Venice. The remaining one hundred 
thousand marks were divided in the following propor- 

^ Nicetas, 382, 415. The description Nicetas gives of the Latin patriarch of 
Constantinople, Thomas Morosini, is amusing. It riiows the violence of his 
indignation, and the impression produced on the Greeks by the appearance of 
the Catholic clergy. He says Morosini was a man of moderate stature, with a 
fat body, like that of a well-fed pig ; he was dreceed in a habit that fitted so 
tightly that he appeared to have been sewed up in it ; both his beard and 
head were shaved, and the latter was as round as a bullet. 

' Villehardoin, 101, ed. Buchon. The edition of Duoange says four hundred 
thousand marks. 

' Baldwin's letters of similar tenor, addressed to Pope Innooent III., to the 
whole Christian world (Reusner, Epistolce Turcica, I 24), and to the Cistercian 
chapter. — D*0utremann, Con9tantinopoli$ Belgiea, 712. 


tion : each horseman received double the share of a a. d. 
foot-soldier, and each knight double the share of a ^ ^^'^^ ' 
horseman.^ The small difference between the shares 
of a common soldier and a knight proves that the 
feudal militia of this expedition, which was a fair type 
of the military force of the age in western Europe, 
consisted of men in a higher social rank than those 
who form our modem armies. It was necessary to be 
bom a gentleman in order to be a soldier in the twelfth 
century ; and as great physical powers and long prac- 
tice alone could enable a man to move with activity 
under the weight of the armour then worn, the power 
of raising recruits was restricted to a much smaller 
proportion of the population than it is in our days, 
when scientific manoeuvres and distant artillery do 
much of the work formerly achieved by the personal 
courage and the strong arm of the combatants.^ 

On the 9th of May, Baldwin, count of Flanders, was 
elected Emperor of the East, and the sceptre passed 
into the hands of the Belgians. The personal character 
of Baldwin, his military accomplisWents, his youth, 
power, and virtue, all pointed him out as the leader 
most likely to enjoy a long and prosperous reign. His 
piety and the purity of his private life commanded the 
respect of the Greeks, who vainly hoped to enjoy peace 
under his government. He was one of the few Cru- 
saders who paid strict attention to his vows of absti- 
nence ; and a singular proclamation, which he thought 
it necessary to repeat twice a-week, forbidding all 
who were guilty of incontinency to sleep within the 
walls of his palace, shows that he knew the majority 

^ In a MS. published by Buchon, as an appendix to Le Livre de la ConquetU 
de la Princie de la Morie, it is said that each knight received twenty marks, 
p. 491. A mark was then equal to a pound weight of silver. 

* In ancient times, the rank of men and officers was veir similar. Xenophon 
mentions that the captains received double the pay of the hoplites, and the 
generals quadruple. — Oyri Exped., vlL 6, 1. The modem scale of pay is very 


BOOK iiL of his countrymen easily forgot their vows.* The con- 
CHjiMi^a. j^g^^^j^ Qf the Belgians with the French, and the little 
jealousy entertained by the Venetians of a sovereign 
whose hereditary dominions were so far distant from 
the possessions of the republic, contributed to the pre- 
ference of Baldwin. 

The two fugitive Byzantine emperors, Alexius III. 
and Alexius Murtzuphlos, wandered about in Mace- 
donia, with little hope of finding partisans disposed to 
join their cause. Murtzuphlos joined his father-in-law, 
hoping by their united influence to assemble an army 
capable of preventing the Crusaders from reaching 
Thessalonica. But Alexius III. feared his son-in-law 
on accotmt of his military talents, and contrived to 
seize him, and have his eyes put out. The unfortunate 
Murtzuphlos was soon taken prisoner by the Crusaders^ 
who carried him to Constantinople, where they tried 
him for the murder of Alexius IV. Murtzuphlos 
pleaded that the young Alexius had been deposed and 
condemned as a traitor by a lawful assembly ; but the 
Crusaders found him guilty, and ordered him to be 
executed in a singular manner. The last of the Byzan- 
tine emperors was precipitated from the top of a column 
in the Tauros, one of the principal squares in the 
capital, and was dashed to pieces on the pavement of 
the city.2 Alexius IIL fled as the Crusaders advanced. 
To gain a new aUy, he bestowed the accommodating 
Eudocia in marriage on Leo Sguros, who had occupied 
a great part of Greece ; but when that chief was de- 
feated by the Marquess of Montferrat, Alexius submitted 
to the conqueror, and received a pension. He soon fled 
to Michael, despot of Epirus ; thence he repaired as a 
suppliant to the court of Gaiaseddin Kaikhosrou IL, 

1 Nicetas, 384. 

* Nicetas, 392. For some distance he fell in an upright position ; he then 
turned over on his head, and at last came to the ground by falling on his 


sultan of Iconium, whom he had received with kind- a. d. 

ness when an exile. The power which Theodore ' 

Lascaris had acquired at Nicsea excited the envy of 
Alexius, though Theodore was the husband of his 
daughter Anna, and, with the aid of the Turks, he 
endeavoured to seize his throne. Theodore Lascaris 
defeated the sultan, and took Alexius prisoner. The 
dethroned and restless monarch was shut up in a 
monastery, where he passed the remainder of his life, 
universally despised as a worthless and cowardly em- 
peror, and detested as an envious and cruel man, utterly 
void of every feeling of natural affection, honour, or 

Such was the termination of the Byzantine phase 
of the Eastern Koman Empire. Many new states were 
formed jfrom its disjointed members, as had formerly 
happened at the fall of the Empire of the West. Three 
of these assumed the rank of empires, and the Belgian 
Emperor of Constantinople found himself compelled to 
dispute for the honour of representing the Roman 
Empire of the East with two Greek sovereigns, who 
assumed the imperial title at Nicaea and at Trebizond. 
Most of the European provinces were subjected to a 
new code of laws, and were forced to adopt new habits 
and manners. The feudal system was imposed on 
Greece by its conquerors, and a considerable portion of 
the Hellenic race never again recovered its indepen- 
dence ; but when the power of its feudal princes and 
of its other masters, the Venetians, the Genoese, and 
the Knights of St John, declined, it passed under the 
dominion of the Othoman Turks. The Greek emperor 
of Nic8Ba, even after he had expelled the Belgian em- 
peror from Constantinople, never extended his power 

^ Nioetas, 392 ; Acropollta, 6 ; Nicephoros Gregoroa, 12. 


BOOK III. over more than a moiety of the Greek nation. The 
chjjl^ Greek empire of Constantinople was only a counterfeit 
representation of its Byzantine predecessor, in the same 
manner as the empire of Charlemagne formed a mere 
nominal revival of that of Eome. But more instruction 
would be derived by making the difference in the state 
of society at the fall of the empires of the East and 
West, than in tracing analogies which naturally occurred 
at the dissolution of two states long governed by the 
same principles of policy and jurisprudence. 

The task here assumed is confined to a more 
restricted field. It will be enough to recapitulate 
the principal causes which produced the ruin of the 
Byzantine empire, and to indicate the various influ- 
ences that operated in transforming the spirit of 
universality, which characterised the government of 
the Iconoclast emperors, into the confined Greek nation- 
ahty that displayed itself under the houses of Com- 
nenos and Angelos. A great modification in the 
official establishment of the empire took place by the 
consolidation of arbitrary power in the hands of the 
Basilian dynasty. The arbitrary nature of the execu- 
tive power, as then exercised, circumscribed the class 
from which the higher officials in the administration 
were selected, and robbed intellectual cultivation, 
scientific knowledge, and long experience, of the guar- 
antees they previously possessed for attaining high 
rank in the public service. Courtly privileges, poli- 
tical ignorance, decreased communications, restricted 
ideas, the decay of internal trade, and a stationary 
condition of the people, soon proclaimed the decline 
of society. We are apt to feel surprised that ancient 
nations submitted tamely to the severe oppression 
under which they are recorded to have bowed for 
many successive generations. A careful consideration 
of the constitution of society, that arose out of the 


existence of slavery, explains the difficulty. The slaves a. d. 

xrixx- 1- •i.-D^ 1203-1204. 

at Constantinople, as in ancient Eome, were very 

numerous ; many were as well educated as their 
masters, and mingled habitually with the highest 
ranks of society. To a large body of these slaves, 
therefore, the feelings of every class, the extent of 
popular grievances, the strength of rival fections, and 
the resources of the central executive power, were as 
weU known as to the greater part of the firee popula- 
tion. The mass of slaves lived in perpetual hostility 
to the existing order of things, ready to seize any 
opportunity that might present itself for effecting a 
social revolution ; nor would leaders have been want- 
ing among the slaves themselves, had a favourable 
moment been found. The free citizens knew the 
danger in which they lived, and hence their political 
conduct was fettered by perpetual bonds : they feared 
an insurrection of their slaves more than the arbitrary 
power of their emperors. 

It may be asserted without hesitation, that the 
first irremediable injury inflicted on the Byzantine 
government was the corruption of the administration 
of justice by ignorant and venal courtiers, whom the 
Basilian emperors intrusted with the exercise of arbi- 
trary power. The immense influence of the Byzantine 
judicial system, in maintaining order and activity 
throughout all ranks of society, is apt to be over- 
looked, because it was never fully appreciated by con- 
temporary historians. Its social power may be justly 
estimated by reflecting that the Byzantine law ap- 
proached much nearer to the principles of equity than 
the Eastern Church did to the principles of Christianity. 
As soon as judicial functions were iU performed, gene- 
ral civilisation declined. The people, finding that 
justice was prostituted, and that there was no hope 
of reforming the administration, ceased to respect the 


BOOK in. central authority. The great moral tie which had 
^ '"•* *• attached the inhabitants of the provinces to the empe- 
rors was then broken, A practical separation of the 
interests of diflFerent nations and territories ensued ; 
and a marked change in the relations of those pro- 
vinces which possessed a national character to the 
central government was the first manifest sign of the 
weakness of the empire. The operation of fiscal oppres- 
sion in accelerating the revolution, and in separating 
every subject race except the Greek from the govern- 
ment, has been fully treated in the preceding pages. 
The Armenians, Cappadocians, Cilicians, Bulgarians, 
Sclavonians, Vallachians, and Albanians were, one 
after the other, driven to assert their independence ; 
and the supremacy of the Hellenic race in the Byzan- 
tine empire, which may be dated from the extinction 
of the Basilian dynasty, prepared the way for internal 
revolutions and foreign conquest. The other nations 
struggled to preserve their independence ; the Greeks 
bartered theirs for official and ecclesiastical power. 

The decline of the Byzantine empire must also be 
considered as closely connected with the identification 
of the Greek church with the Roman administration. 
This union of the ecclesiastical with the civil govern- 
ment may be also dated from the last years of the 
BasUian dynasty. It was consummated after the com- 
plete schism of the Greek and Latin churches in 1053, 
which was unfortunately effected by the Patriarch 
Michael Keroularios, with a degree of violence that 
implanted a deep hatred in the breasts of the priest- 
hood of the rival sects. By this union of the ecclesi- 
astical with the political administration, the power and 
influence of the Greek aristocracy was greatly extended 
and strengthened, but the spirit of the government was 
rendered more exclusive and bigoted. The Byzantine 
emperors, as they identified the ecclesiastical with the 


civil administration, always held the Eastern clergy in 
a state of abject dependence on the imperial power. 
They used the church as a ministerial department of 
government for the religious affairs and the education 
of the people. So that, when the loss of Sicily and 
Italy and the hostility of Armenia had excluded men 
of education belonging to these countries from the 
higher ecclesiastical charges at Constantinople, the gen- 
eral ignorance of the other subject-races threw every 
ecclesiastical ojQ&ce into the hands of the Greeks, who 
converted the oriental church into a national mono- 
poly. From that period the administration of public 
affairs displayed an excess of bigotry from which it had 
been generally free in preceding ages. The union of 
the church and state grew constantly more intimate, 
and the Greeks, having no rivals in ofl&cial power, 
became more blindly prepossessed in favour of their 
own national prejudices and ecclesiastical practices. 
This exclusive national spirit, combining religion with 
politics, has ever since proved a misfortune to the Greek 
race. During the latter years of the Byzantine empire 
it prevented the people from learning those new social 
and religious ideas which were then beginning to en- 
large the intelligence and the energies of the people in 
western Europe. The religious hatred with which the 
Greeks regarded every nation that acknowledged the 
papal supremacy led them to reject many social, poli- 
tical, and ecclesiastical reforms that originated in 
Catholic countries. The twelfth century did much to 
improve the condition of the Western nations, but 
nothing to improve that of the Greeks. The conse- 
quence was that the arbitrary power of the Byzantine 
emperors was exercised without any civil or ecclesias- 
tical restraint; for the Greeks repudiated every principle 
of civil liberty, and every ecclesiastical declaration in 
favour of the rights of humanity, as heretical and revo- 

A. D. 


BOOK in. lutionary iimoyationB introduced by the popes to fur- 
CH^nM a. ^^^^ ^j^^^ ^^^^^ ambitious projects. It must be remem- 
bered that the papal church was at this time often 
actively engaged in defending freedom, in establishing 
a machinery for the systematic administration of jus- 
tice to the people, and in impressing men with the full 
value of fixed laws for the purpose of restraining the 
abuses of the temporal power of princes. In short, the 
papal church was then the great teacher of social and 
political reform, and those who scorned to listen to its 
words and study its policy could hardly perceive the 
changes which time was producing in the Christian 
world. The Byzantine Greeks immediately rejected 
the idea of progress; the papal church woidd have fain 
arrested the progressive impulse it had given to society 
a century or two later. The Greeks prided themselves 
on their conservative, or, as they called it, their Boman 
spirit. By clinging superstitiously to antiquated for- 
mulas, they rejected the means of alleviating the evils 
of a ruinous political fabric, and refused to better their 
condition by entering on paths of reform indicated by 
the Western nations, who were already emerging from 
their social degradation. While the rest of Europe was 
actively striving to attain a happier future, the Greeks 
were gazing backward on what they considered a more 
glorious past. This habit of appropriating to them- 
selves the vanished glories of the Roman empire, or of 
ancient Greece, created a feeling of seK-sufficiency 
which repudiated reform in the latter days of the 
Byzantine empire, and which has ever since retarded 
the progress of the modem Greeks in the career of 
European civilisation. 



A.D. 1204-1453. 


EBiPIBE OF NIC^A, AD. 1204-1261. 

SECT. I. — REIGN OP THEODORE I. (laBOARIS), A.D. 1204-1222. 

StATB of BOCIETX among THB GbKBK population at the time or THE CON- 
QUEST OF Constantinople bt the Cbubadbbs — Pbbtendebs to the 


with bivalb — Communications with Pope Innocent III. — Wab with 
THE Sultan of Iconium— Wab with the Empebob Uenby— Death and 


The taking of Constantinople filled the Greek popula- 
tion in all the provinces of the Byzantine empire with 
wonder and alarm. The national existence was bound 
up with the central government, so that a vacancy on 
the throne seemed to imply the ruin of all the institu- 
tions under which they had hitherto lived. The future 
threatened them with individual ruin as well as poli- 
tical anarchy, even if they escaped foreign conquest. 
Yet even at this crisis of the national fate the people 
made no exertions to reform the vices which degraded 
their character and paralysed their exertions. No 
attempt was made to circumscribe the arbitrary con- 
duct of the court, and restore vigour to the old scheme 
of systematic administration ; notlung was done to cor- 
rect ecclesiastical abuses in the church, to improve the 
courts of law, to abolish the monopolies that ruined 


BOOK IV. native industry, or to invigorate the municipal institu- 
ciLKji. ^j^j^g which could alone give energy to the mass of the 
population. The news that a Belgian emperor ruled 
in Constantinople spread from Dyxrachium to Trebi- 
zond without rousing a single Greek citizen to step 
forward as the defender of the rights of the nation. 
Much political disorder was caused by the avarice and 
ambition of the Greek nobles, but no anarchy occurred 
from the populace endeavouring to deprive the official 
agents of the central government of any of the powers 
which for several generations these agents had grossly 
abused. So completely had the court, the administra- 
tion, the clergy, and the lawyers perverted the judg- 
ment and feelings of the whole Greek popidation, that 
the fabric of the imperial government continued to 
stand though its foundations were destroyed, its vital- 
ity decayed, and its judicial efficacy corrupted. The 
civil and military governors of provinces, the judges, 
intendants, and collectors of taxes in cities, continued to 
pursue their ordinary course of action, in alliance with 
the bishops and clergy, until they were driven from 
their posts by the conquering Latins, or summoned to 
yield their places to the representatives of a new emperor. 
Never was the national imbecility which arises from 
the want of municipal institutions and executive acti- 
vity in local spheres more apparent. Had the towns, 
cities, corporations, districts, and provinces, inhabited 
by a Greek population, possessed magistrates respon- 
sible both to the people and the emperor, but accus- 
tomed to independent action, there can be no doubt 
that thousands of Greek citizens woidd have rushed 
forward to defend their country against the Crusaders 
and the Venetians; and that they would have soon 
reformed the abuses which rendered the empires of Con- 
stantinople and Trebizond fearful examples of the de- 
graded condition into which a civilised Christian society 


may sink. A sense of national independence and a a. d. 
spirit of liberty might have infused themselves into ^ ^^^'^ ^' 
the hearts of the Greek people, and the empire of Con- 
stantinople might then have shared with the Western 
nations the task of advancing the progress of Chris- 
tian civilisation. But the Greeks at this critical con- 
juncture proved incapable of making any intellectual 
exertion; their municipal institutions had been ren- 
dered so subservient to the central power that they 
had long ceased to reason on politics ; national feeling 
and political intelligence were dormant in their souls, 
and they submitted blindly to any sovereign who 
seized the reins of government, whether a foreigner 
or a native. 

The great catastrophe, which had fallen alike on 
every class of society, ought certainly to have suggested 
to the Greek statesmen of the period the importance 
of identifying the feelings and interests of the whole 
free population with the cause of the government. We 
know that these men were in the habit of reading 
Thucydides and Plato. In the works they have left 
us, we find them so often aping the style of the 
ancients that we feel disgusted when we discover they 
paid little attention to their thoughts. The value of 
the study of the classics to form or even to improve 
the mind was then, aa it is now, very much overrated. 
Experience shows that it is almost as likely to produce 
learned pedants as accomplished scholars ; for unless 
there be a basis of mental education very diflFerent 
from that which is acquired through books, learning 
cannot produce statesmen. The Greeks are not the 
only people among whom the study of classical litera- 
ture has produced no practical improvement in political 
knowledge. Yet every one must admit that the study 
of the republican literature of the ancients bears that 
deep impression of truth which cannot fail to enlarge 


BOOK IV. the intellectual vision and purify the taste of those 

CB ill JT If 

11^' who examine its records with minds already familiar 
with the principles of civil liberty and political order. 
Men who might have distinguished themselves in oflS- 
cial life only as useful labourers at the task of the 
hour, attain to higher views by classical studies. New 
combinations of free principles of government in vari- 
ous conditions of society, diflfering from everything 
around them, are presented to their view, and give them 
a profoimder experience of human nature. England 
certainly ought never to forget that many of her best 
patriots and greatest statesmen have been indebted to 
the study of classic literature for those liberal and 
philanthropic ideas which enabled them to improve the 
prospects of the human race while they served their 
country's cause ; and their names, whether they belong to 
the seventeenth or the nineteenth century, will go down 
to future ages with as pure and as great a fame as the 
greatest in the annals of Greece and Rome. But the 
minds of these men were formed by their domestic 
education and native institutions; they were only 
improved and matured by classic studies. 

Unfortunately for the Greek race, their teachers and 
their rulers never felt that the people had an inalien- 
able right to the impartial administration of justice. 
The government of the Byzantine empire considered 
that the very basis of its existence was the absolute 
submission of the people ; it regarded aU popular 
rights and municipal authority as incompatible with 
a strong central power. 

There was also a material obstacle to any general 
action of the Greek nation at the time of the conquest 
of Constantinople. Civilisation had already declined 
to such a degree that communications between distant 
portions of the nation were becoming rare. Mono- 
polies and privileges had thrown commerce into the 


hands of strangers. No ties of common interests or a. d. 
feelings bound distant localities together, unless with ^ ^^^'^'^ ' 
the fetters of poHtical despotism and ecclesiastical 
bigotry. Little was to be gained or hoped for by 
the people beyond the narrow sphere in which they 
lived, so that local prejudices and individual interests 
outweighed national patriotism. The emperors were 
prompt to avail themselves of this state of things, and 
easily attached the wealthiest members of the aristo- 
cracy in each separate district to their service. The 
profits of imperial oppression were shared with these 
provincial nobles and archonts, while the clergy gave 
to every patriotic aspiration the form of orthodox 
bigotry. Such was the state of society when the foun- 
dations of the empire of Nicsea were laid ; and they 
explain in some degree how the weakest despotism the 
world ever saw could succeed in expanding itself into 
the Greek empire of Constantinople. 

The rebellion of powerful nobles was a chronic dis- 
ease of the Byzantine empire. It is not surprising, 
therefore, that the members of the aristocracy, even 
amidst the calamities of their coimtry, thought more 
of their own habitual projects of ambition than of their 
duties to their country. The provinces were conse- 
quently soon filled with pretenders to the empire. The 
two fugitive emperors, whose fates have been recorded 
at the close of the preceding book, Alexius III. and 
Alexius v., attempted to preserve some power in Mace- 
donia. Theodore Lascaris, who had been acknow- 
ledged emperor after the flight of Alexius V., escaped 
to Bithynia, where he assumed the direction of the 
central government, contenting himself for the moment 
with the title of Despot, and appearing as the repre- 
sentative or colleague of his worthless father-in-law 
Alexius III. As the news of the taking of Constan- 
tinople spread, fresh pretenders to the throne appeared, 

VOL. II. z 

Cb. I. I L 


BOOK lY. and many nobles who had been preparing to render 
themselves independent from the first appearance of 
the Crusaders, assumed the rank of sovereign princes 
without claiming the title of Emperor. In Europe, 
Leo Sguros, the governor of Nauplia and Argos^ endea- 
voured to render himself master of all Greece ; but his 
career of ambition was soon terminated by the con- 
quests of the Crusaders. On the other hand, Michael 
Angelos Comnenos laid the foundations of an inde- 
pendent principality in Epirus, which successfully re- 
sisted the Crusaders, and defended its independence 
against the Greek emperors of Nicsea and Constan- 
tinople for several generations. In Asia Minor, Theo- 
dore Mankaphas, who had assumed the title of Emperor 
during the reign of Isaac IL, again claimed the empire 
at Philadelphia^ and Manuel Maurozomes rendered 
himself master of the upper valley of the Maaander. 
But the great rival who disputed the empire of the 
East with Theodore Lascaris was Alexios Comnenos, 
the founder of the empire of Trebizond. He claimed 
the throne as the legal heir of the house of Comnenos. 
The tjnranny of his grandfather, Andronicus I., was per- 
haps forgotten in the provinces. His father's life had 
been sacrificed to confer the throne on the worthless 
family of Angelos, and the memory of Manuel's moder- 
ation and orthodoxy had doubtless been loudly cele- 
brated by the partisans of his son.^ The calamities of 
the empire afforded the young Alexios a fair opportunity 
for stepping forward in its defence, as no one could 
advance a more legitimate claim to the vacant throne. 
With the assistance of a corps of Iberian mercenaries 
he occupied Trebizond, and all the coast of Pontus and 
Paphlagonia soon acknowledged his authority. 

1 Manuel had refused to marry Agnee of Franoe, ihe widow of Aleziua II., 
as ihey were too nearly allied, acoording to the canons of the Qreek church. 
His fiftther disinherited him, and, as has been said, married young Agnes 


Future events could alone determine to whom the a. d. 
empire would idtimately falL The good fortune of ^^^^^ ' 
Theodore L, joined to his prudence and valour, con- 
tributed much more than his election in the Church of 
St Sophia to fix the crown on his head. When he fled 
from Constantinople, he presented himself at the gates 
of Nicsea, into which he demanded admittance as the 
representative of his father-in-law, the dethroned Em- 
peror Alexius III. The inhabitants, who hated Alexius^ 
refused to admit Theodore within their walls, but 
allowed his wife Anna to seek shelter in their city. 
They were perhaps doubtful whether it would not be 
more for their advantage to submit to the Crusaders 
than to acknowledge a cowardly and rapacious emperor 
like Alexius III. Theodore retired to the fastnesses of 
Mount Olympus, where he assembled a considerable 
body of troops, and rallied many of the fugitives who 
had fled from Constantinople. Several fortified towns 
in Bithynia submitted to his authority ; and when the 
extent of the confiscations of Greek property by the 
Latins became known, the inhabitants of Asia Minor 
willingly placed themselves under his protection. 

Theodore I. fought his way to the crown by his 
indefatigable exertions in opposing the progress of the 
Latins in Asia Minor. Before the end of the year 
1204, Louis, count of Blois, who had been created 
Duke of Nicaaa, and received Bithynia as his share in 
the partition of the empire, sent an army, headed by 
one hundred knights, to take possession of his duchy. 
This force landed at Peges, occupied Panormus, and 
marched into the interior until it encountered the 
troops of Theodore at Poimanenos. The Greeks, how- 
ever, were stUl incapable of sustaining the charge of 
the Western cavalry, and the Crusaders gained a com- 
plete victory. Poimanenos and Lopadion were taken, 
and Prusa was besieged. The position of Prusa (of 


BOOK IT. which the walls may still be seen on a rocky ridge 
' *' '' * ' * overlooking the romantic Turkish city of Brosa) was 
then strong ; and as it was defended with constancy, 
the assailants were compelled to retire with loss. But 
another division of the Crusaders occupied the strong, 
rich, and important city of Nicomedia, which the Greeks 
did not attempt to defend, but of which their active 
enemies immediately repaired the ruined and dis- 
mantled fortifications.^ 

Duriog the same autumn, Henry of Flanders, the 
Emperor Baldwin's brother, landed with his Belgian 
knights at Abydos, and occupied all the Troad. In 
this operation he was assisted by a colony of Armenians, 
established in this district by the Byzantine emperors. 
These Armenians were treated by the Greek civil and 
military authorities with that spirit of bigotry and 
oppression which had driven most of the subjects of 
the Byzantine empire, not of the Greek race, into open 
rebellion. They now submitted to the Crusaders, in 
the hope of escaping from the sufferings under which 
they had long groaned. From Abydos, Henry marched 
to Adramyttum, where he met with no resistance, and 
the conquest of the Troad and the whole of the rich 
province between the Hellespont and the Adramyttian 
gulf was completed without loss. Theodore Manka- 
phas, who had assumed the imperial title at Phila- 
delphia^ however, deemed it his duty to oppose the 
progress of the Belgian chiefs. He led a body of 
Asiatic troops to encounter the lances of the Crusaders, 
but he was easily defeated by Henry of Flanders. 

Henry's career of conquest was suddenly cut short 

by an order to join his brother, the Emperor Baldwin, 

at Adrianople, with all his disposable force, in order to 

encounter Joannice, king of Bulgaria. The Armenians 

^ of the Troad, fearing the vengeance of the Greeks after 

' Villehardoin, 126, 129, 181, ed. Duoiuige. NioetM, 888. 


the departure of the Belgian troops, emigrated, under a. d. 
the protection of Henr/s army, with the intention of ^^^*^-- 
settling among their countrymen who were established 
at Philippopolis. A colony of twenty thousand souls 
crossed the Hellespont ; but Henry, receiving the news 
of his brother's defeat and captivity, hastened forward 
with his cavalry to assemble and protect the fugitives 
who had escaped from the battle of Adrianople. A 
body of Armenian infantry remained to escort the long 
train of waggons, loaded with the families and goods 
of the emigrants. The Greek troops and the armed 
bands of countrymen, who were kept in constant agita- 
tion by the disturbed condition of the district on the 
line of march, soon found themselves sufficiently 
numerous to form a plan for plundering the property 
of the Armenians. A general attack was made on the 
colonists ; the escort was separated from the baggage, 
and the waggons were piUaiged. The women and chil- 
dren were reduced to slavery, the unarmed emigrants 
were slaughtered, and this industrious colony was 
utterly exterminated, sharing the fate of everything 
practically useftd in the Eastern Empire. Thus the 
Greeks and Crusaders emulated one another in exter- 
minating the inhabitants of the country they aspired 
to rule ; and the numbers of mankind in all the pro- 
vinces they governed diminished as rapidly as the 
wealth and civilisation of the people declined.^ 

The valour and prudence displayed by Theodore 
Lascaris induced the authorities of Nicaea to acknow- 
ledge him as their sovereign, and that city became 
the point where all the most eminent of the Greek 
aristocracy and clergy assembled to oppose the pro- 

^ The conquest of Constantinople by the Crusaders coincides with an em of 
geDeml decline in the weUbeing, and consequently in the numbers, of mankind 
throughout the East Qenghis Khan took Pekin in the year 1215 ; and while 
the Crusaders ravaged Syria and Greece, the Mongols laid waste Bokhara and 

Cu. I. I 


BOOK IV. gress of the Latin domination. The primary step 
towards re-^establishing the unity of the imperial ad- 
ministration was to ratify the election of Theodore in 
the most solemn manner, and thus give him a decided 
pre-eminence over all his rivals. To do thisj it was 
necessary that he should be the first to receive the im- 
perial crown fix)m the hands of the Patriarch. Alexius 
V. had been slain by the Crusaders ; Alexius III. was a 
prisoner in the kingdom of Thessalonica. The Patriarch 
John KamateroS) who retired with Nicetas to Selym- 
bria, had settled at Didymoteichos ; and when he was 
now requested to visit Nicasa, in order to resume his 
patriarchal functions, and place the crown on the head 
of Theodore Lascaris, he preferred resigning his office 
to quitting his retirement. A new patriarch, Michael 
Autorianos, was elected his successor about two years 
after the taking of Const-antinople, and one of his first 
public acts was to place the imperial crown on the head 
of Theodore I. with as much pomp and ceremony as if 
the scene had been acted in St Sophia's, (a.d. 1206).^ 

The enemies of Theodore continued to attack his 
little empire with vigour, though the victory of the 
King of Bulgaria over the Emperor of Constantinople 
had relieved him for a time from his greatest danger. 
David Comnenos, the brother of Alexius, emperor of 
Trebizond, invaded Bithynia, captured Heracleia^ and 
was so elated with his success that he sent forward 
his army under Synadenos to occupy Nicsea and drive 
Theodore from the throne. Lascaris encountered 
Synadenos on the banks of the Sangarius, and com- 
pletely defeated the Iberians of Comnenos. He was 
equally successful in the south-west. Gaiaseddin 
Kaikhosrou, who was under great obligations to 

^ Caper, De P<Unarckl$ Oonttantinovol, 146, 158, ed. Venet. The commence- 
ment of tiie reign of Theodore L is always reckoned fi:x>m his election at Con- 
stantinople in 1204.— Boivin's note to Nicephorus Qregoraa» 749, ed. Fftr. 


Alexius III., had recovered possession of the throne a. d. 

of Iconium ; and while Lascaris acted only as despot 

in the name of his father-in-law, the sidtan favoured 
his progress. The power of the Seljouks, indeed, 
appeared to be threatened both by the conquests of 
the Crusaders and the rapid progress of the young 
Emperor of Trebizond. But as soon as Theodore was 
firmly established on the throne, Kaikhosrou sought 
for a weaker ally among the Greeks. He gave his 
daughter in marriage to Manuel Maurozomes, and 
supplied him with Turkish auxiliaries to attack Las- 
caris. The Turks of Maurozomes were defeated as 
well as the Iberians of Comnenos. Theodore Man- 
kaphas was also compelled to lay aside the imperial 
title for the second time, and Sabas, the governor of 
Amisos^ who had defended his independence against 
the Emperor of Trebizond, acknowledged the nominal 
supremacy of the Emperor of Nicsea. Theodore I. 
was consequently enabled to re-establish the admini- 
stration of the whole country, from the mouth of the 
Sangarius to the sources of the Ehyndacus and the 
Mseander, on the old imperial system.^ 

The diflficulties in wMch the empire of Nicsea was 
placed by its geographical position were very great. 
It was open to the invasion of all its enemies ; hostile 
princes occupied all its frontiers, and its friends and 
allies were far distant. David Comnenos, after the 
defeat of his army on the banks of the Sangarius, 
concluded a treaty of alliance with Henry, the Latin 
Emperor of Constantinople, from whom he received a 
body of knights and men-at-arms. For this succour 
he engaged to become a vassal of the Latin empire 
for a part of the territory he had previously governed 
in the name of his brotiber Alexios, the Emperor of 

^ Nicetas, 403. Acropolita, 6. 

360 £MPIRE OF MICi£A. 

iJooK IV. Trebizond. No step could have proved more advan- 
^111!' tageous to Theodore than this close alliance of his 
principal rival with the detested Latins. Nicsea was 
now the residence of the Greek Patriarch, and all the 
most distinguished members of the Greek church had 
already attached themselves to the cause of Theo- 
dore I. The whole of the clergy in the western part 
of Asia Minor were driven, from fear of the extension of 
the Latin power through the desertion of David Com- 
nenos^ to rally round their Patriarch ; and the autho- 
rity of the bishops, which was not inconsiderable in 
civil affairs, was universally employed to maintain a 
political connection with the empire of Nicsea as the 
centre of orthodoxy. The auxiliary force sent to the 
aid of David enabled him to take the offensive ; but 
Theodore proved again victorious. A chosen body of 
three hundred Latin cavalry, with all its followers, 
was cut to pieces in the forests near the Sangarius, 
and David was compelled to shut himself up in Hera- 
cleia. Theodore even hoped to revenge himself on the 
Latins^ for the assistance they had granted to Com- 
nenos, by conquering Peges. He gained possession of 
that fortress ; but it was recovered by the Latins, who 
then invaded Bithynia at several points, in order to 
complete the subjugation of the fiefs which had been 
assigned to them in that province at the partition of 
the Byzantine empire. T^eir forces were led by one 
hundred and forty knights, each of whom expected to 
gain a barony. One division occupied Cyzicus, and, 
by repairing its ruined walls, converted it into a 
citadel for storing provisions and plunder. Another 
division fortified the Church of St Sophia, built by 
Constantino the Great near Nicomedia, in order that 
it might serve as a fort to command the rich adjacent 
plain ; from which we may infer that the citadel and 
town could not be rendered defensible on account of 


their extent. A third division seized the castle of a. d. 
Charax, on the southern coast of the Gulf of Nicomedia, ^ ""^^'^^^ 
from which there was a direct road to Niceea ; while 
the remainder of the expedition established itself at 
KivotoSy a port which afforded easy communications 
both with Nicsea and Prusa.^ Theodore, alarmed at 
these preparations for assailing his power at its centre 
simultaneously from various points of attack, con- 
cluded an alliance with the King of Bulgaria, who, as 
soon as he was informed that the greater part of the 
Latin troops had passed over into Asia^ laid siege to 
Adrianople, while his allies, the Romans, ravaged the 
open country to the neighbourhood of Constantinople. 
This invasion compelled Henry to recall a strong 
body of troops from Asia, and Theodore availed him- 
self of the weakness of the garrisons of Cyzicus and 
Kivotos to attack both places at the same time. He 
already possessed a fleet of sixty vessels, so that he was 
able to press the attack on Kivotos with vigour both 
by sea and land. The place was defended by forty 
knights, with their followers, but its walls were in a 
ruinous condition, and it was ill supplied with provi- 
sions. The Emperor Henry was sitting at dinner in 
the great hall of the palace of Blachem, when a courier 
suddenly entered, and exclaimed — " Sire, unless the 
knights at Kivotos receive immediate assistance, the 
place will be taken, and they will all be slain !'' The 
Belgian emperor, with that promptitude which enabled 
him to sustain with glory the iU-constructed fabric of 
the Latin empire of Constantinople, rose from table 
and instantly embarked with all the troops who were 
ready, and put to sea. Heralds were left to proclaim 
that Kivotos required immediate succour, and that 

1 KiTotofl, the andent Kioe or CiuB, ia called dvitot by the Latin historiaDs 
of the CnuBderB. Its modem name is Ghiumlek. It wbb repaired by Alexins 
I.» who established io it a colony of Anglo-Danes, driven from England by the 
Normans.— Docange, Notes to ViUehardoin, 361. 


BOOK IT. every vassal of the empiie must follow the empeior's 
c*^i. i^iy^^j When the sun rose, Henry was sailing up the 
gulf to Kivotos, attended by the Marshal V illehardoin. 
Miles of Brabant, and seventeen Venetian and Pisan 
galleys. The Greek fleet was more numerous, but the 
Latins advanced to attack it ; and the Greeks man- 
oeuvred so long, in order to gain an advantage of wind 
which would enable them to prevent their enemy reach- 
ing Kivotos, that fresh ships joined the emperor, and 
they at last declined an engagement. Henry, however, 
found the fortifications of Kivotos in such a dilapi- 
dated condition that he thought it prudent to dis- 
mantle the place entirely, and carry off the garrison. 

Theodore, having thus driven the Latins from Kivo- 
tos, distracted their attention by attacking Cyzicus and 
Nicomedia. Thierry de Los> a knight of high reputa- 
tion, was defeated and taken prisoner near Nicomedia 
by Cionstantine Lascaris, the emperor's brother ; and 
Henry was again compelled to appear in person in the 
field, though his presence was equally necessary in the 
north in order to save Adrianople from the Bulgarians. 
Four times he had been on the eve of his departure for 
that city, and four times his march had been adjourned 
by disasters of the Latin arms in different quarters. 
Theodore, well informed of all his enemy's difficulties, 
proposed to conclude a truce for two years, on condi- 
tion that the fortifications of Cyzicus and St Sophia's 
of Nicomedia should be destroyed, and in return he 
offered to release all his prisoners, among whom were 
some knights of high rank. The necessity of hastening 
with all his troops to save Adrianople compelled Henry 
and his barons to accept these terms, and Theodore 
was put in possession of Cyzicus and Nicomedia, (a.d. 
1207) .1 

^ These evente are recounted by Villehardoin with preoiaon and simplicity, 
p. 192-208, ed. Ducange. 


Theodore had still much to complain of and much a. d. 
to fear from the valour and restlessness of the Western ^ ^^^^^ * 
nations. It was therefore for his interest to obtain a 
treaty of peace of a permanent and general character, 
and such a treaty could only be obtained by the influ- 
ence of the Pope. Theodore addressed a letter to Pope 
Innocent III. for this purpose, and it contains as strong 
a proof of the power enjoyed by that celebrated pontiff 
as any of the acts of arbitration he exercised in the 
West. Many Latin adventurers paid no attention to 
the truce concluded with the Emperor Henry. They 
arrogated to themselves the right of private war, and 
plundered the Greek territories wherever the country 
offered a defenceless prey to their avarice. The Latin 
emperor had no power to restrain these disorders, for 
all the Greeks who adhered to their national church 
had been declared to be in a state of perpetual vassal- 
age by papal authority, so that every adventurer was 
entitled to constitute himself their immediate superior 
under the Pope as lord paramount. In this state of 
things, Theodore invited the Pope to conclude a per- 
manent peace, on the basis that the Latios should 
possess ail the European provinces of the Byzantine 
empire, and recognise the right of the Greeks to the 
undisturbed dominion over those in Asia. 

The Emperor Henry refused to conclude a permanent 
treaty on this basis, as it would have given the Em- 
peror of Nicsea a decided superiority over all his Greek 
rivals ; and there could be no doubt that^ as soon as 
he had consolidated a strong power, no stipulations 
would have any effect in preventing the Greeks from 
attempting to regain possession of aU the country 
conquered by the Crusaders. Henry considered, like- 
wise, that it was a duty he owed to the Catholic faith, 
to the Pope as the spiritual suzerain of the Christian 
world, to his own fame, and to his position as Emperor 


BooKiY. of Constantinopley to complete the conquest of the 
^''*' ' Eastern Empire. Theodore must, consequently, have 
been well aware of the small chance of deriving any 
assistance from the Pope, as the conclusion of a per- 
manent treaty could not fadl to oppose a barrier against 
the extension of the papal power in the East. The 
reply of Innocent informed Theodore that the Pope 
was more hostile than he had supposed. The letter 
was addressed to the honourable Theodore Lascaris, 
and thus conmienced with a denial of his daim to the 
title of Emperor.^ It is a curious document, inasmuch 
as it proves how little influence pure morality and true 
religion exercised on the poHtical views of this cele- 
brated Pope. Innocent does not pretend to deny the 
atrocities committed by his Crusaders at Constimtin- 
ople ; and as he felt it was his duty to establish peace, 
he promised to send a legate into the East for that 
purpose ; but he requires Theodore to take the cross 
and join the Crusaders in Palestine, while he insults 
him with the demand that he should acknowledge 
himself the vassal of the Latin empire of Bomania. 
The great Pope continues^ in a style of bigotry which 
it is the fashion to ridicule when employed by more 
vulgar fanatics: ''The Greeks having rent asunder 
the garment of Christ, God has doubtless made use of 
the Latins as an instrument to punish them for their 
crime. The judgments of Grod are always just, and he 
frequently punishes evil by the agency of wicked men." 
The solicitations of the Greek emperor to obtain peace 
through the mediation of the high priest of the 
Western Christians produced no result but a recom- 
mendation to become the vassal of a Belgian count. 

^ InnoeemU IIL Epidola^ ii. 158, ed. Baluze. The date is a.d.!1208. It is 
interesting to compare this letter with that to the Latin patriarch Morosini, ii. 
494. Innocent employed the crusades as an instrument for incroasing the 
temporal power of the See of Borne, and he hated the Greeks because they 
had little reverence for either crusades or popes.— Uurter, Innocent III. et ton 
SUcU, trad, nouvellei par Jager et Vial, ii. 206. 


Theodore employed the leisure aflfbrded him by the a. d. 
truce more profitably in extending his dominions in ' ^^^' 
Asia, where his prudence gave his subjects a degree of 
security which induced many voluntarily to acknowledge 
his authority, and enabled him to extend his empire 
from Paphlagonia to Caria. His prosperity excited the 
jealousy of Kaikhosrou, the sultan of Iconium, whose 
court was visited by Alexius III., as has been already 
noticed ; and that envious and restless prince was as 
eager to dethrone his son-in-law as the sultan was to 
gain possession of the Greek dominions. The truce 
with the Latin empire had expired ; and the sultan, 
who feared the energy and activity of Theodore, 
strengthened himself by an alliance with the Catholic 
Emperor of Constantinople. Though the Latins made 
it a standing reproach to the Greeks, that the Eastern 
Christians were ever ready to become the allies of the 
Turks, they showed no aversion to the practice them- 
selves whenever it served their interest. We owe our 
knowledge of the present treaty between the Crusaders 
and the Mohammedans to the Emperor Henry, who, in 
a public manifesto addressed to the Christian world, 
speaks of his alliance with the Turkish sultan against 
the Christian Emperor of Nicsea as an act honourable 
to a good Catholic.^ 

The sultan, before declaring war, sent an embassy to 
require Theodore to yield the empire to his father-in- 
law, threatening, in case of refusal, to place Alexius 
in. on the throne by force of arms. The threat was 
despised, and the sultan invaded the Greek territory, 
accompanied by his friend and tool Alexius. Theodore 
was prepared to meet his enemy. He had engaged a 
chosen corps of eight hundred Latin cavalry in his 
service ; and after placing a garrison in Philadelphia, 

^ Martenne et Darand, Thetcmrus Nov. Aneedatorum,i. 821, aod in Buchon's 
edition of Villohardoin, annexed to his Recherehei et MatMaux, 212. 


BOOK IV. he cioesed the Caister on the eleventh day of his march* 
^ ^''*^ He pushed rapidly forward into the valley of the 
Mseander, hoping to surprise the Turkish army while 
it was occupied in besieging the city of Antiocheia. 
The rashness of the Latin cavalry favoured his plan, 
though it nearly caused his defeat. They hurried for- 
ward and attacked the Turks without counting the 
numbers of their enemy ; but in spite of the fury of 
their charge and the weight of their armom*, they were 
overpowered and broken by the squadrons that assailed 
them on the flanks and in the rear. The greater part 
were slain, and their defeat spread terror through the 
ranks of the Greeks. Theodore was compelled in this 
crisis to cover the retreat of his army at the head of 
his best soldiers. He was attacked by the sultan in 
person ; and if we can credit the romantic description 
of the Byzantine historians, a single combat took place 
between the two sovereigns. Kaikhosrou galloped up 
to Theodore, and gave him a blow with his sabre on 
the helmet, which struck him from his saddle to the 
earth, though it failed to wound him. The sultan 
shouted to his followers to secure the prisoner; but 
the emperor, springing up, cut the legs of the sultan's 
horse so severely that it fell, and threw its master at 
Theodore's feet, who instantly stabbed him to the 
heart.^ The Greek oflficers who rushed forward to save 

^ Acropolita, 9, fmys Theodore cut off the hind-feet of the sultan's horse. 
Nioephorus Gregoras, 10, says the fore-feet. Compare the dramatic account 
given by Herodotus of a combat between the Persian satrap Artybiua and 
Onesilas of Cyprus, which the Byzantine historians have imitated. — Herod., 
v., c 112. Nicephonis Qregoras says the Greek army consisted of only two 
thousand cavalry, the Turkish of twenty thousand. The Emperor Heniy, in 
the manifesto already mentioned, says the Greeks were more numerous than 
the Turks. The loss of the Greek army was so great that Henxy, when he 
heard how much Theodore had suffered, exclaimed, *' The Greek is not a con- 
queror, he is ruined I " 

There is an oration of Nicetas to the Emperor Theodore I., on the subject of 
this combat and the death of the Sultan of Iconium, preserved in manuscript 
at Venice, which may place the event in its true light. — GrcBci Codiee$ JfS., 
apud Nanioi Venetat ousertcUi, detcripH a J.Aloyno Mingardlio, 475; MS. 
fol., 120. MUUer, B^zantinitche AnalekUn, 6. 


their Bovereign cut off the sultan's head, and exposed a. n. 
it to the view of the Turkiflh army, while the retreat ^ ^^^^^^ 
of the sultan's guard at the same time spread the news 
of his death through its ranks. The Turks abandoned 
the contest^ and the emperor entered Antiocheia in 
triumph, a.d. 1210. Alexius, who fell into the hands 
of his son-in-law, was confined for the remainder of his 
life in a monastery, as we have already mentioned. 
The Empress Euphrosyne, whom he had left behind in 
Epirus, died shortly after at Arta. 

Fortunately for Theodore, the Latin empire of Con- 
stantinople was disturbed by the violent conduct of 
the papal legate Pelagius, who commenced a persecu- 
tion of all the Greeks who refused to acknowledge the 
papal supremacy. The Emperor Henry interfered to 
protect those who had entered his service ; but many 
of the clergy and some men of rank fled to Nicsea, 
where they were kindly received by the Greek emperor, 
and the animosity of the two churches was greatly 

In the year 1214, the war between Henry and 
Theodore was renewed. Henry crossed the Hellespont 
at the head of a numerous army, and occupied Poima- 
nenos without resistance ; but he was compelled to 
besiege Lentianes with his whole force, which was 
courageously defended by the inhabitants, as weU as 
by a regular garrison. The defence was conducted 
by one of the emperor's brothers, by his son-in-law 
Andronicos Paleologos, and by Dermokaites, the com- 
mander of the garrison. The place was closely invested 
for forty days, and repeated assaults were made under 
the eye of Henry. It was not xmtil the water was cut 
off and a breach effected in the walls that the besiegers 
were able to force their entrance into the town. Henry 
was so enraged at the delay he had met with, and the 
loss he had suffered before this insignificant fortress. 


BOOK IT. that he disgraced himself by an act of infSBimous cruelty. 

^1^** After taking Lentianes, he ordered its brave defenders. 
Lascaris, Paleologos, and Dermokaites to be put to 
deatL^ He persuaded the garrison to enter his service, 
and united it with the corps of (George Theophilopoulo8» 
a Greek general who had joined the Latins. Henry 
then advanced as far as Nymphaeum ; but Theodore, 
who was sensible of the inferiority of the Greeks in a 
regular battle, carefully declined an engagement, and 
confined his operations to the defensive. The campaign 
ended without any great success on the part of the 
Latins ; and the Greek emperor, hearing that the 
Despot of Epirus was assailing the European possessions 
of the Crusaders with great vigour, sent an embassy to 
Henry to propose a treaty of peace. As the Latin 
emperor considered his presence necessary in Europe, 
the terms were easily arranged. The peninsula opposite 
Constantinople, bounded by a line drawn from the 
head of the gulf of Nicomedia to the Black Sea, and 
all the country from the Hellespont as far as the district 
of Kamina^ were to remain in possession of the Latins. 
The town of Kalamos, which lay between the territory 
of the Crusaders and the theme of Neokastron, was to 
remain uninhabited, to mark the frontier of the two 
empires.^ The boundaries of the empire of Nicsea now 
extended from Heracleia on the Black Sea to the head 
of the Gulf of Nicomedia ; from thence it embraced 
the coast of the Opsikian theme as far as Cyzicus ; and 
then descending to the south, included Pergamus, and 
joined the coast of the Mge&a. Theodore had already 
extended his power over the valleys of the Hermus, 
the Caister, and the MsBander.* 

> AcropoUta, 15, mentions the execution of these brave men withont a word 
of reprobation, as if the act had been authorised by the usages of war. 

' AcropoUta, 15. Kamina may represent the ancient Kanew Coins with 
KAMHNON are attributed to Kane.*-Coropare Strabo^ xiii. 622, and Hoflfhiann» 
Grieckenland und die OHeehen tm AUertkum, ii. 1638. 

* AcropoUta, 15. 


The bad success of all attempts to force the Greeks a. d. 

to conform to the Latin church induced Innocent III. _! * 

to change his policy. The fourth Lateran council was 
held in the year 1215, and by it the Latin bishops in 
the East were authorised to appoint Greek priests to 
celebrate Divine service and administer the sacraments 
in the Greek language ; but these priests were to teach 
the doctrines of the Church of Eome, and to inculcate 
the papal supremacy. This concession produced more 
effect than the previous persecution. Many Greeks, 
who probably considered both the Patriarch and the 
Pope as having arrogated to themselves a degree of 
power in ecclesiastical affairs to which they had no 
valid title, conformed to the Latin rites when they 
heard the liturgy in Greek ; but, on the other hand, 
the opposition and hatred of the Greek clergy were 
greatly increased by this insidious attack on their 
authority. Whenever they regained possession of a 
church in which a Latin priest had performed mass, 
they washed the altar and purified the building ; and 
before they would admit a Latin Christian into their 
church, they required that he should be baptised a 
second time. There is an act of the fourth councU of 
the Lateran which reveals the ruinous effect of the 
feudal government introduced by the Crusaders into 
a society so differently organised as that in the Byzan- 
tine empire. When Richard I. of England conquered 
the rich island of Cyprus, and converted it into a 
feudal kingdom, it contained fourteen cities, which 
were bishops' sees ; but so many of these had already 
fallen into decay during the short space of four-and- 
twenty years, and the position of a Latin bishop was 
so much more aristocratic than that of a Greek, that 
the number was now reduced to four.^ 

' Reinhard, Ilistoire de Chypre, L 1 50. 
VOL. II. 2 A 


BOOK IT. The peace between the Greek and Latin empires 
^'''** * lasted several years. After the death of Henry in 
1216, the Empress Yolande, wife of Peter of Courtenay, 
acting as regent/ gave her third daughter Maria in 
marriage to the Emperor Theodore, hoping to secure 
a permanent peace by this close alliance.^ But when 
the death of Peter of Courtenay, followed by that of 
Yolande, threw the aflFairs of Constantinople into dis- 
order, Theodore laid claim to a portion of the Latin 
empire as the heritage of his wife. This pretension 
served as a pretext for attacking the Latin possessions 
in Asia, but the arrival of Robert with fresh forces 
caused the peace to be renewed. Theodore offered his 
daughter Eudocia to the Emperor Robert in marriage 
though they were already brothers-in-law. In vain 
the Greek Patriarch and the majority of the Greeks 
reprobated the marriage, both on religious and political 
'~ ground ; the emperors seemed determined to celebrate 

it, when a sudden illness put an end to the life of Theo- 
dore, in the year 1222, after he had reigned eighteen 
years.2 ^Jl thoughts of the marriage were then laid 

Theodore Lascaris, the saviour of the Greek empire, 
though not a man of enlarged political views or of 
great capacity, seems to have far exceeded in activity 
and courage the rest of the Byzantine aristocracy. He 
was passionate, and addicted to gallantry, but he had 
many qualities which suited him for a popular leader 
in difficult circumstances. Though of small stature, 
he was skilful in the use of arms, and he was rash, 
generous, and lavish of money even to imprudence. 
We must recollect that it required no ordinary valour 

^ Theodore I. was married to Philippa, daughter of Reuben IL, king of 
Cilician Armenia, after the death of his first wife, Anna, the daughter of 
Alexius III.; but he soon divorced Philippa. 

> Acropolita, 17. He was between forty-five and fifty years of age at the 
time of his death. 


and perseverance to arrest the progress of so accom- 
plished a warrior as Henry of Flanders at the head of 
his redoubted Belgian cavalry, and that the overthrow 
of Theodore would, in all probability, have enabled the 
Crusaders to complete the subjugation of the whole 
Greek race. 


Wab between John III. and Bobebt of Coubtenat — Adbianople 


WITH THE Latin emfibe, a.d. 1225 — Consfibact of Nestongos — Rebel- 
lion OF Gay ALAS in Rhodes— Negotiations fob the union of the 
Gbeek and Latin chubches— John de Bbienne attacks the emfibe of 
NiojBA— Alliance between John III. and John Asan,kino of Bulqabia 
— Affaibs of the emfibe of Thebsalonica — Baldwin II. attacks John 
III.— SuBiassiON OF the Empebob of Thesbalonica — Feab of the 
Moguls— Rhodes taken bt the Genoese and bbooyebed — Wab with 
Michael II., despot of Epibus — Michael Paleologos accused of tbba- 
soN— Chabacteb of the coubt and administbation of John III. 

Theodore I. left no son. It was, therefore, necessary 
to elect a new emperor ; for though the feeling in 
favour of hereditary succession was gaining ground 
among the Greeks, still the constitution of the empire 
recognised no rule of succession which would create a 
positive title to the crown without some form of elec- 
tion. The eminent qualities of John Dukas Vatatzes, 
who married Irene, the eldest daughter of Theodore I., 
after her first husband, Andronicus Paleologos, had been 
put to death by the Emperor Henry, united the suf- 
frages of the civil and military authorities as well as 
the clergy in his favour ; and though the late emperor 
left' four brothers who had served with distinction in 
the army, John III. was saluted emperor without any 
opposition.! But his coronation excited the jealousy 

^ Compare Acropolita, 17, and Niceph. Oregoras, 12, with Ducange, Font. 
Aug. Byz., 220,22% 


BOOK IV. of Alexis and Isaac Lascaris to such a degree that they 
ciLj^ not only retired from Nicaea, but even attempted to 
carry off their niece Eudocia, who had been promised 
to the Latin emperor Robert. Failing in this attempt, 
they deserted to the Latins, and distinguished them- 
selves at the court of Constantinople by their eager- 
ness to commence hostilities against their countrymen. 
The military power of the Latin empire was con- 
stantly declining. The army which effected its conquest 
was soon dispersed over its surface with the feudal chiefs 
among whom it had been partitioned, or its warriors 
proceeded to Palestine to complete their vows, in order 
to return to their hereditary possessions in their native 
lands. No Latin army of equal strength could ever 
again be assembled under the walls of Constantinople. 
Nevertheless, for a short time, the reports which spread 
through western Europe of the immense plunder and 
rich fiefs which the conquerors of the Byzantine empire 
had acquired, attracted an ample supply of fresh recruits 
to the East. But in a few years, defeats and misfor- 
tunes on one side, and the improving condition of 
European society on the other, arrested emigration. 
The prudence and valour of the Emperor Henry could 
with difficulty efface the impression produced by the 
terrible and romantic tales that were circulated con- 
cerning the murder of Baldwin by the King of Bul- 
garia ; and before the melancholy end of the first 
Belgian emperor was forgotten, men were appalled by 
the news that his brother-in-law, Peter of Courtenay, 
the third emperor, had perished by a similar untimely 
end. In attempting to march from Dyrrachium to 
Constantinople, Peter of Courtenay was defeated and 
taken prisoner by Theodore, the despot of Epirus, and 
for some time his fate was shrouded in the same 
mystery as that of Baldwin. The world was long 
unwilling to believe that both the imperial brothers- 


in-law had perished in prison. Yolande, the wife of a. d. 

Peter, who had administered the government of Con- ._ ' 

stantinople as regent with great prudence, did not 
long survive her husband ; and Robert, the second son 
of Peter, who succeeded to the throne of the Latin 
empire, was a weak and incapable prince. The king- 
dom of Saloniki was governed by an Italian regency, 
acting in the name of Demetrius, the second son of the 
king, Marquess Boniface of Montferrat.^ It was soon 
evident that neither the empire nor the kingdom could 
resist the attacks of the Greeks, Epirots, and Bulgarians, 
without assistance from western Europe. The solici- 
tations for aid were generally addressed to the popes, 
who possessed the power of rendering the contest a 
holy war, by granting indulgences to every Catholic 
who attacked the Greek heretics. The popes conse- 
quently became the arbiters of the Latin empire, and 
supported its cause with fervour. As a matter of course, 
they regarded the Greeks as more dangerous enemies 
of papal influence than the Mohammedans. Pope 
Honorius III. was so eager to establish the predomi- 
nance of the Latins in the East (as it appeared to him 
the only means of placing the supremacy of the popes 
on a finn foundation), that he invited the princes of 
Europe to undertake a crusade, for the purpose of 
delivering Peter of Courtenay from captivity. The 
threat of a crusade was then no idle menace, and 
Theodore, the despot of Epirus, employed every art 
to pacify Honorius, and turn aside the storm. He 
released the papal legate, who had fallen into his hands 
with the Emperor Peter, with the most solemn assur- 
ances that he was willing to acknowledge the supremacy 

^ Philip, the eldest son of Peter of Courtenay, preferred his hereditaiy county 
of Namur to the imperial throne of Constantinople. Demetrius was the son 
of Boniface of Montferrat by Margaret of Hungary, widow of Isaac 1 1 . William, 
his eldest son by his first marriage with Eleanor of Savoy, succeeded to the 
Marquisate of Montferrat— T^'iiH de verifier If Datet, 



BOOK IT. of the Pope, and to labour to convert his subjectB. The 
. legate, who informed the Pope that Peter of Courtenay 

was really dead, appeafs to have convinced the Court of 
Rome that there was little chance of compelling the 
Greeks and Albanians to change their religion by force. 
The wily despot persuaded both the legate and the 
Pope of his sincere desire to join the Catholic Church ; 
and Honorius, hoping to gain a new and poweiful 
vassal, began to forbid the crusade he had lately 
preached. He prohibited the Venetians from attack- 
ing the territories of Theodore under pain of excom- 
munication. The fate of Peter of Courtenay, who died 
of grief and ill-usage in the prisons of the despot^ was 
no longer mentioned. The republic of Venice concluded 
a truce for five years with Theodore. Geflfrey, prince 
of Achaia, and Otho, sovereign of Athens, quarrelled 
with the Pope, and incurred excommunication by 
appropriating to their own use a portion of the estates 
of the Greek church which were claimed by the papal 
clergy, and the confederacy against the Greeks was 
completely broken up. 

This change in the affairs of the Latins rendered it 
unnecessary for Theodore to persevere in his hypocri- 
tical negotiations. He invaded the kingdom of Saloniki, 
and soon conquered it, for the officers of the young 
King Demetrius possessed no army capable of resisting 
his attack. The Pope, enraged at finding he had been 
used as a political tool by the cunning Greek, fulmi- 
nated his excommunications against Theodore ; but as 
Honorius had himself dissolved the confederation of 
the Latin powers, the despot laughed at the thunders 
of the Vatican. The success of Theodore now opened 
to him a more extensive field of ambition. He aspired 
at the honour of restoring the Greek empire in Europe, 
and declared himself the rival of the Emperor of Nicaea 
by assuming the imperial crown at Thessalonica, which 


was placed on his head by the Patriarch of Bulgaria, a. d. 
who, as he possessed an independent ecclesiastical ^^^]^- 
jurisdiction, had the power of ttnointing sovereigns, 
(a.d. 1222.)' 

Fortunately for the Greeks, the temporal policy of 
the Court of Rome often placed the popes in direct 
opposition to the interests of the Latin princes, nobles, 
and proprietors, who had settled in the Eastern Empire, 
and thus aU its endeavours to gain the same degree of 
power in the East which it enjoyed in the West proved 
vain. At this time, however, the hope of compelling 
the Greeks to acknowledge the papal supremacy by 
force of arms was strong ; and Honorius III. exerted 
himself with so much vigour to furnish the emperor, 
Robert of Courtenay, with troops and money, that a 
considerable army accompanied the young emperor 
to Constantinople. Theodore I. was still emperor of 
Nicsea when Robert arrived in the East ; but, as has 
been abeady mentioned, the Latin and Greek emperors 
concluded a treaty of peace, which enabled Robert to 
employ all his forces against Theodore of Epirus, whose 
rapid progress alarmed the Latins. The armies of Con- 
stantinople and Epirus met before the walls of Serres. 
The Latins were defeated in their attempt to take the 
city; their generals, Valincourt, and Mainvaut, the 
marshal of Romania, were both taken prisoners during 
their retreat ; and the Emperor of Thessalonica was 
enabled to pursue his conquests and organise his new 
dominions without opposition. 

Such was the state of affairs at the commencement 
of the reign of John III. The warlike Latins soon 

' Acropolita, 18. The Bulgarian patriarch was Archbishop of Achrida. 
Compare the note 2 at page 869 of the preceding yolume, where it is said, 
** Greek writers err in asserting that the head of the Bulgarian church was 
never officially recognised as a patriarch by the Church of Constantinople/' 
with Lequien, Oriens Chrittiantu, ii. 286, 287 ; Alemann*8 Notes to the Areana 
of Procopius, p. 99, ed. Par., torn, iii., 361, ed. Bonn; and Tafel, Via Egnatta, 
pan oeeidentalii, 32. See below, p. 383. 


BOOK IT. reassembled a force which they considered sufficient 
cn^u^ to protect the immediate domain of the Emperor of 
Constantinople from luiy encroachment on the part of 
Theodore of Thessalonica ; and as they were eager to 
increase their territories and gain new fiefs, the Empe- 
ror of Nicsea felt that his dominions offered too many 
assailable points for the peace concluded by his pre- 
decessor to be of long duration. John III., therefore, 
devoted his attention to preparing for war without 
imposing any additional burdens on his subjects. All 
the Greeks felt that, unless the Latins were expelled 
from Constantinople, there could be no permanent 
peace ; and it was now evident that if any other 
orthodox prince gained possession of the imperial city, 
the Emperor of Nicsea would be unable to maintain 
his position as the political head of the Greek nation. 
While John III. increased the numbers and improved 
the discipline of his army, he attached his subjects to 
his government by the economy he introduced into 
the financial administration, and by his strict atten- 
tion to the administration of justice. 

The Emperor Robert at last declared war ; and the 
Latins invaded the territory of Nicsea^ where they 
found John III. prepared to receive them. Their 
army debarked at Lampsacus. It was commanded 
by St Menehould, who was assisted by the two Las- 
caris. A decisive battle was fought near Poimanenos, 
in which the victory was well contested. St Mene- 
hould was one of the first conquerors of Constanti- 
nople, and the Latin knights had hitherto proved 
victorious wherever they could manfully assert the 
prowess of the lance. But the Greek emperor was a 
skilful general as well as a valiant soldier ; and when 
his cavalry yielded to the shock of the Frank chivalry, 
he rallied them, and renewed the combat by a series 
of well-combined attacks, which at length broke the 


line of his enemies. The cavalry, once broken, was a. d. 

easily dispersed, and there was then little diJEculty , ' 

in destroying the rest of the army. St Menehould, 
and many noble knights, perished on the field ; the 
two Lascaris were taken prisoners, and lost their sight 
as a punishment for their treason. John III. followed 
up his victory with indefatigable energy. During the 
winter of 1224 he captured Poimanenos, Lentianes, 
Charioros, Veerveniakon, and every other fortress the 
Latins possessed on the Asiatic side of the Hellespont, 
except Peges. He sent a part of his army into Europe 
to lay waste the country round Madytos and CaUi- 
polis, while his fleet expelled the Latins from the 
island of Lesbos. 

These successes roused the Greeks of Adrianople to 
attempt delivering themselves from the Latin domi- 
nation. They solicited aid from John IIL ; and as 
soon as a body of Greek troops approached their neigh- 
bourhood they flew to arms and expelled the Frank 
garrison. But Theodore, emperor of Thessalonica, 
advancing shortly after to Didymoteichos, placed him- 
self between Adrianople and the empire of Nicsea, 
and efiectually cut off the troops of John III, from 
receiving any reinforcements. Theodore was eager 
to gain possession of Adrianople, as an important step 
to the conquest of Constantinople, and to securing his 
ultimate supremacy as orthodox Emperor of the East. 
By means of bribes and promises he persuaded the 
leading men in Adrianople to espouse his cause, for he 
really seemed better able to defend them against the 
Bulgarians on one side, and the Latins on the other, 
than the Emperor of Nicsea, whose resources were far 
distant. The general of John III., unable to resist 
the army of Theodore and the wishes of the inhabit- 
ants, agreed to evacuate the place on being allowed 
to march out with the honours of war. The Emperor 


BOOK IT. of Thessalonica attempted to take advantage of the 
^!IllL retreat of the troops of Niceea to arrogate a superiority 
to which he was not entitled. He ordered the ganison, 
in marching out of Adrianople, to defile before him, 
and placed himself, with the imperial ensigns, to receive 
their salute. But John Kam3rtzes, the Nicsean general, 
was a man of sense and firmness, and when he rode 
past the rival of his sovereign he affected to watch the 
proceedings of his own troops, and never turned his 
head to regard Theodore. The Epirot emperor was 
furious at the slight, and lost aU command of his 
temper. At first he was with difficulty withheld from 
arresting, and even from striking Kam3rtzes, but he 
afterwards allowed him to continue his march. The 
Emperor John rewarded the cool intrepidity of his 
general by appointing Kamytzes Grand HeteriarcL 
Though the possession of Adrianople enabled Theodore 
to lay waste the Latin territory as far as Bizya, he 
was unable to make any attempt on Constantinople. 
In the year 1230 his restless ambition involved him 
in war with John Asan, king of Bulgaria, by whom 
he was defeated and taken prisoner. Engaging in a 
conspiracy, he was punished by his conqueror with the 
loss of sight. In the mean time, the King of Bulgaria 
had conquered a considerable number of the cities 
which Theodore had governed. He gained possession 
of Did3nnoteichos, Boleros, Serres, Pelagonia» and Pri- 
lapos, and extended his conquests as far as Albanopolis 
to the west, and to the frontier of Great Vlachia to the 

The Pranks, finding that their possessions in the 
vicinity of Constantinople were ravaged by the troops 
of Theodore, became anxious to conclude peace with 
the Emperor of Nicsea, in order to concentrate aU their 

^ Acropolita, 28. 


forces for their defence ; and John III., displeased at a. d. 
the insolent and hostile disposition which the Emperor ^^^|^- 
of Thessalonica had displayed in the affair of Adrian- 
ople, was willing that the Latins and Theodore should 
exhaust their strength, while he remained a cahn spec- 
tator of their contest. The terms of peace were soon 
arranged; the Latins withdrew their garrison from 
Peges, which they surrendered' to the Greek emperor, 
and they retained possession of no spot on the Asiatic 
coast, except the peninsula opposite Constantinople 
as far as Nicomedia, (a.d. 1225). This peace was 
observed by both parties for several years — 1225 to 

The aristocratic element of Greek society was as 
little inclined to respect political order and established 
law, while living in exile in the petty empire of Nicsea, 
as the proud Byzantine nobles, who boasted a Roman 
or Armenian origin, had ever been to weigh the in- 
terests of the people against their own schemes of 
personal ambition during the period of their greatest 
power and splendour at Constantinople. The throne 
of John IIL, and all his schemes for the improvement 
of the Greek empire, were at this time placed in con- 
siderable danger by a conspiracy of his own cousin, 
Andronicus Nestongos, who engaged many men of 
rank in a plot to place the crown on his own head. 
The conspiracy was fortunately discovered, and the 
traitors were punished. Nestongos escaped from con- 
finement, and passed the remainder of his life among 
the Seljouk Turks. The emperor, having established 
order and insured submission at court, pursued his 
plans for improving the condition of his subjects and 
augmenting the efficiency of his military establish- 
ments with steady perseverance for several years. In 
his civil government, and especially in strengthening 
the moral influence of the imperial authority over 


BOOK ly. every rank of society, he was assisted by the great 

^21!ll*' talents and singular prudence of his wife, the Empress 

Irene, whose authority was the greater in consequence 

of her never laying aside her modest domestic manner 

of life, or appearing eager to exert political influence. 

In the year 1233, John III. was engaged in hostili- 
ties with a rebellious subject, in order to secure his 
dominion over Khodes. Tie government of that rich 
island was held by Leo Gavalas, whom John III. had 
honoured with the rank of Caesar. Gavalas raised the 
standard of revolt, and a number of the emperor's 
bravest troops were slain in civil war before the rebel 
could be compelled even to acknowledge the imperial 
supremacy; and peace was not re-established untU 
John consented to confirm Gavalas in the govenmient 
of the island, a command he retained until his death. 
The authority of the central administration of the 
Greek empire being no longer systematically exerted 
to protect and advance the material interests of the 
population at a distance from the capital, a general 
tendency towards local independence began to be 
formed in the outlying provincial conmiunities in the 
empires of Nicsea^ Thessalonica, and Trebizond, which 
was in some degree strengthened by the principles of 
feudal society, which the great vassals of the Latin 
empire of Eomania introduced among their Greek 
subjects. The decline in the numbers, wealth, and 
intelligence of the middle classes, which followed 
the ruin of intercommunications and the decay of 
commerce, enabled the aristocracy to turn this ten- 
dency of society to their own exclusive profit. Ex- 
amples of aristocratic rapacity become gradually more 
and more prominent as one of the evils that demoral- 
ised Greek society. The history of Rhodes illustrates 
these observations. The brother of Gavalas succeeded 
to his power as if it had been a family inheritance ; 


and though he only pretended to act as the emperor's a. d. 

. • 1222-11254 

representative, John was compelled to confirm him in * 

his vice-royalty to avoid recommencing a civil war.^ 

The Emperor Robert of Courtenay died in the Pelo- 
ponnesus in the year 1228, as he was returning from 
Kome, which he had visited to solicit succours from 
the Pope. His brother, Baldwin IL, who was only 
eleven years of age, was recognised as his successor ; 
but the exigencies of the administration required a 
chief capable of directing the counsels and leading the 
armies of the empire. John de Brienne, titular king 
of Jerusalem, and commander-in-chief of the papal 
army, was supposed by aU having an interest in the 
prosperity of the Latin empire to be a man capable of 
restoring its glory and re-establishing its power. He 
was elected the guardian and colleague of Baldwin IL, 
and crowned emperor for life. A treaty was concluded 
between John de Brienne and the ambassadors of 
Romania, in which it was stipulated that the young 
emperor, Baldwin IL, was to marry Agnes, the daugh- 
ter of his guardian ; and that, on his attaining the age 
of twenty, he was to be invested with the sovereignty 
of Nicsea, and the Latin possessions in Asia beyond 
Nicomedia as an independent kingdom. After the 
death of John de Brienne, the empire reverted to 
Baldwin as his hereditary dominion.^ This treaty 
was confirmed by the Pope, Gregory IX., at Perugia 
in 1229 ; but John de Brienne was detained in Italy 
for two years before he could collect a sufficient force 
to visit his empire. During this time the regency 
was directed by Narjot de Toucy.^ 

The treaty of Perugia, which disposed of the empire 

^ Acropolita, 24, 47; Nicepb. Gregoras, 16. 

' This curiotis treaty with the papal confirmation is given by Bucbon, JU- 
ehercha et McUSriaux pour $ertir d un€ Hiitoirt de la Domination Francis en 
Orient, p. 21. 

' Narjot de Toucy bad married the daughter of Agnea of France, the child- 
widow of Andronious I. and Theodore Vranas. 


BOOK lY. of Nicaea as a Latin possession, was an insult which 
^*''' policy induced the Emperor John III. to overlook ; 
but he feared that a vigorous attack on the Latin 
empire might enable Theodore, emperor of Thessalo- 
nica, or John Asan, king of Bulgaria, to gain posses- 
sion of Constantinople before he could prevent theuL 
The war which broke out between these two princes 
in the following year, 1230, delivered him from this 
danger, yet he was still willing to gain time ; and 
when John de Brienne arrived at Constantinople in 
1231, he entered into negotiations for a union of the 
Greek and Latin Churches, which was conducted with 
wisdom and moderation on the part of the Greek 
Patriarch, Germanos Nauplios, but was rendered abor- 
tive by the servile submission required by the Papal 
Court. In the month of April 1233 the Emperor of 
Nicaea assembled a council of the Greek church at 
Nymphseum, in which, as usual, nothing could be 
determined.^ The negotiations were broken oflF, and 
the Latin emperor invaded the Greek territory, 
expecting to profit by the rebellion of Gavalas in 
Rhodes. A powerful army landed at Lampsacus; 
and the Greek emperor, having formed a fortified 
camp at Sigrenes, watched the operations of his 
enemy, and circumscribed his movements. John de 
Brienne was now upwards of eighty years of age, his 
military reputation stood high, and his force was supe- 
rior to that of his opponent; but age rendered him 
inactive. All his plans of conquest were foiled by the 
superior tactics of the Greek emperor ; and a four 
months' campaign was terminated by the Latins gain- 
ing possession of Keramidi, a fort near Cyzicus^ and 
by their recovering Peges. 

^ One of the four papal commiasionen at Nymphseum was Aymon, an Eng- 
lishman, who became afterwards minister-general of the order of the Minor 
Friars. — Ducange, HiaUnre de ConatantinopU, p. 95. 


Alarm at the nmnber of the recruits who about this 
time arrived at Constantinople from western Europe, 
induced the Emperor of Nicsea and the King of Bul- 
garia to form a close alliance. Theodore, the son of 
John III., who was only eleven years of age, was be- 
trothed to Helen, the daughter of John Asan, who was 
in her ninth year ; and the young princess was com- 
mitted to the charge of the Empress Irene to be 
educated.^ The two sovereigns prosecuted the war in 
concert. The emperor took Lampsacus, crossed the 
Hellespont, and captured Callipolis, and aU the 
cities of the Thracian Chersonesus. He then extended 
his conquests to the westward as far as the Hebrus, 
and to the north as far as Tzurulos, which he secured 
by a strong garrison. The king pushed his incursions 
almost to the very walls of Constantinople, and ravaged 
the possessions of the Latin seigneurs. The united 
armies even approached the imperial city ; and if we 
believe the Latin writers, they suffered severely from 
a well-arranged sortie led by John de Brienne in per- 
son.2 About the same time the Greeks sustained a 
defeat at sea, a.d. 1235. In the following year, Con- 
stantinople was relieved from aU danger by the suc- 
cours it received from the Venetians and from Greffrey, 
prince of Achaia. But the death of John de Brienne 

* By this treaty the Archbishop of Temovo, which was then the capital of 
the Bulgarian kingdom, was declared independent head of the Bulgarian 
church, and received the title of Patriarch, ratified by an imperial charter 
under the golden seal, and by a decree of the Greek synod. Temovo had 
been preyiously dependent on the patriarchal see of Constantinople. The see 
of Achrida, which assumed the title of Patriarchate of Bulgaria, formed part 
of the empire of Thessalonica; the object of creating a new patriarch of Bul- 
garia was to put an end to this hostile influence. — Acropolita, 18, 27; Nice* 
phorus Qregoras, 16 ; Ephrsemius, 829. See p. 81, note, and p. 875 ; and 
Tol. I p. 369, of this work. 

* Philip Mouskes (Ducange's ed. of Villehardoin, p. 223) represents the 
united army of Greeks and Bulgarians as amounting to one hundred thousand, 
and the force of John de Brienne as consisting of one hundred and sixty 
knights, and a few sergeants and men-at-arms. Acropolita, 28, sajrs the Latin 
emperor watched the allies from the walls of Constantinople without venturing 
to move. Ducange, HUtoire de Conttantinople, 98, believes the French writer; 
the Greek seems more worthy of credit 

A. D. 



BOOK IT. in 1237, and the absence of the young Emperor Bald- 
cu^un. win IL, who was wandering about to solicit aid from 
the Catholic princes, placed Constantinople suddenly in 
such danger of falliug into the hands of the Emperor 
of Nicsea, that the King of Bulgaria resolved to prolong 
the existence of an empire from which he had now 
nothing to fear. He suddenly concluded a separate 
peace, and formed an alliance with the Latins. Sound 
policy certainly required John Asan at this moment to 
keep all his forces ready for action on his northern 
frontier. The conquests of Grenghis Elhan and his sons 
alarmed all the princes of the East with reasonable 
apprehension of calamity, though the ignorance of the 
Latins prevented the nations of western Europe from 
perceiving the greatness of the danger which then 
threatened the whole civilised world. From the shores 
of the Atlantic to the Chinese seas, every country 
seemed on the eve of being reduced to serve as pasture- 
grounds for tribes of nomades, and himting-fields for 
Mogul princes. 

About the time John Asan abandoned the Greek 
alliance, the Komans were driven over the Danube by 
the Moguls who had invaded Bussia. The King of 
Bulgaria allowed these fugitives to pass through his 
dominions in order to enter the service of the Latin 
empire, and joined them in attacking the Greek pos- 
sessions in Thrace. John III. had now to defend his 
recent conquests against an overwhelming force com- 
posed of the heavy cavalry of the Franks, the light 
horse of the Komans, and the organised infantry of the 
Bulgarians. The united army besieged Tzurulos, which 
was bravely defended by Nicephorus Tarchaniotes. It 
was saved by John Asan receiving the news of the 
sudden death of his wife and son. This double mis- 
fortune presented itself to his mind as a judgment of 
Heaven for violating his faith with the Greek emperor. 


He withdrew his army, hastened back to Bulgaria, a. d. 
broke oflF his alliance with the Latins, and renewed his *^^]|^- 
treaty with John III. 

The death of Asan's wife produced important changes 
in the government of the Greeks in Macedonia. John 
Asan married Irene, the daughter of his prisoner Theo- 
dore, emperor of Thessalonica, whom he had deprived 
of sight for his plots. He now released her father. 
Theodore repaired secretly to Thessalonica, from which 
he soon contrived to expel his brother Manuel, who 
had usurped the imperial title; and he then caused 
his own son John to be elected emperor, for the loss 
of his sight rendered it impossible for him to direct 
the details of the administration. Manuel escaped to 
Attalia, and visited the court of Nicsea. The Emperor 
John III. furnished him with a naval force of six 
gaUeys, and money to enrol troops ; for he feared the 
restless ambition of Theodore, and was anxious to find 
employment for him at home. Manuel landed at 
Demetrias, and rendered himself master of the country 
from Pharsalus and Larissa to Platamona. A third 
brother, named Constantine, had already gained pos- 
session of that part of Thessaly called Great Vlachia. 
The blind Theodore, who guided the counsels of his 
son John, the Emperor of Thessalonica, immediately 
entered into commimications with his brothers, and • 
convinced them of the necessity of forming a close 
family alliance, in order to preserve their independence. 
Manuel abandoned the cause of John III., and the 
three brothers, with the Emperor of Thessalonica, con- 
cluded a treaty for mutual defence and oflFence with 
the Latin princes of Athens, Euboea, and Achaia. John 
III. was too much occupied with other aflfairs to bestow 
particular attention on these hostile demonstrations at 
the time, (a.d. 1238).^ 

' Acropolita, 33. 
VOL. II. 2 B 



BOOK IT. The wealth, resourcesy and population of the Latin 
empire of Constantinople were now rapidly declining. 
No taxes could be levied, for the Greeks, who had 
cultivated the fields and acted as traders in the towns» 
finding their pursuits interrupted by hostile invasions, 
had emigrated into the empire of Nicsea^ which enjoyed 
uninterrupted internal tranquillity. The Latin govern- 
ment was reduced to such financial difficulties that it 
was obliged to strip the copper roofs from the public 
buildings, and melt down every ornament of bronze 
that remained in Constantinople, in order to coin 
money. The precious metals were borrowed from the 
churches, and the relics of the saiuts were pledged or 
sold. Still the supplies of warriors, whom the influence 
of the Pope diverted from the legitimate object of the 
Crusades, which was to recover possession of the Holy 
Sepulchre, in order to war against the Greek heretics, 
often rendered the armies of the Latins for a time 
superior to any force the Emperor of Nicsea could 
bring iuto the field. The zeal of Pope Gregory IX., 
and the pecimiary assistance furnished by Louis IX. 
of France, enabled Baldwin II. to return to Constan- 
tinople in the year 1239 at the head of a considerable 
army, which the Greeks magnified to sixty thousand 
men.^ This force he increased by engaging in his 
service the whole military population of the Koman 
tribes who had settled within the limits of the Latin 

Baldwin 11. opened the campaign of 1240 by besieg- 
ing Tzurulos, which was compelled to surrender at 
discretion. The governor Petraliphas and the garrison 
were carried to Constantiuople, in order to raise money 
by the ransom of those who had wealth or wealthy 
friends. The Greek emperor, unable to relieve Tzurulos, 

A AcropoHta, 81. 


attacked the Latin possessions between Nicomedia and ^ a. d. 
the Bosphorus^ and took Charax and Dakibyza ; so that ^^^}^' 
nothing was left them in Asia except Chalcedon, Sku- 
tarion, the shores of the Bosphorus, and Daskyllimn. 
After the end of this campaign the Latin auxiliaries^ 
being left without regular pay, soon retired from Con- 
stantinople ; and John Asan, king of Bulgaria, dying 
in the following year (1241), the Emperor of Nicsea 
considered it most advantageous for his political in-: 
terests to establish his supremacy over Thessalonica. 

John, emperor of Thessalonica, was a pious and just 
prince, not destitute of ability, but submitting entirely 
to the guidance of his father, the unquiet and ambi- 
tious Theodora Manuel was already dead, and his 
dominions were occupied by Michael, son of Michael, 
the elder brother of Theodore, and foimder of the 
despotat of Epirus.^ The Emperor of Nicaea felt that 
his title to the sovereignty of the Eastern Empire 
would not be recognised by the European Greeks until 
he gained possession of Thessalonica, and he knew that 
this would prove a difficult task as long as the various 
princes of the house of Angelos Comnenos maintained 
a strict alliance. His first step, in preparing for war, 
was to gain over the Koman light cavalry, as, by com- 
manding a considerable extent of country round his 
army, they secured him from surprise, and enabled him 
to concesd his movements. He found the Koman 
cavalry so useful in Europe that he transported colo- 
nies of this people into Asia Minor, where he settled 
them in Phrygia, and in the valley of the Msdander ; 
but the similarity of their nomadic habits and of their 
language probably induced them very soon to form 
connections with the Seljouk Turks.* To insure still 
further the success of his plans, John HL committed 

1 Nioeph. Greg., 28. Both tbo MiohaeU wete illegitimate. * Ibid, 21. 


BOOK IT. one of those acts of the basest treachery which Byzan- 
^ '** tine political morality considered as a venial display of 
diplomatic ability. He invited the blind Theodore to 
visit his court for the purpose of consulting him on a 
common plan of action among the Greek princes against 
the Franks and Bulgarians ; but when Theodore visited 
the imperial camp, he was detained as a prisoner, and 
the Emperor of Nicsea marched forward with his army 
from the shores of the Hellespont to form the siege of 
Thessalonica. His treachery was apparently useless, 
for whUe he was pressing the siege with every prospect 
of a speedy surrender, a courier arrived from his son, 
Theodore Lascaris, informing him that the Moguls had 
gained a great victory over Gaiaseddin, sultan of 
Iconium, and were overrunning all Asia Minor, The 
immediate return of the emperor with the whole army 
was therefore necessary to protect the Greek dominions. 
John III. had treated his prisoner Theodore with all 
the honour due to hia high rank, and had carefully 
sought to gain his goodwill. He now proposed to 
him the office of mediating a treaty of peace with his 
son. John III. engaged to restore Theodore to liberty, 
and to raise the siege of Thessalonica, on condition 
that John, the son of Theodore, should lay aside the 
title of Emperor, but that he should retain the sove- 
reignty of Thessalonica^ with the title of Despot, on 
acknowledging the imperial supremacy of the throne 
of Nicaea as the true representative of the empire of 
Constantinople. These terms were accepted ; for old 
Theodore had seen that the power of the Emperor of 
NicsBa was based on a well-filled treasury, a prosperous 
country, and a well-disciplined army, so that resistance 
was hopeless ; while his own power was likdy to remain 
equally great, whether his son was styled despot or 
emperor. As soon as the treaty was concluded, John 
III. hastened back to Asia, where he found all the 


Greeks in the greatest alamL The Moguls seemed on 
the eve of completing the conquest of the world. One 
division of their mighty army had subdued Russia and 
laid waste Poland and Hungary; another had now 
destroyed the Seljouk empire in Asia. As soon as the 
emperor returned to Nymphseimi, he sent to the Sultan 
of Iconium, who had collected some troops from the 
relics of his army, and the terms of an offensive and 
defensive alliance were arranged between the Greek 
and Turkish empires. John III. then devoted all his 
energies to make the preparations necessary for resist- 
ing the overwhelming armies of the Moguls ; but, 
fortunately for the Christians, the attention of these 
conquerors was at this time diverted to other enter- 

When no further danger was to be apprehended in 
Asia, the Emperor of Nicsea again recommenced his 
conquests in Europe. The young Caloman, king of 
Bulgaria^ died or was poisoned in the year 1245, leav- 
ing an infant brother, Michael, as his successor. John 
III. availed himself of the opportunity to reconquer 
the ancient dominions of the Byzantine emperors in 
Thrace. Serres soon fell into his hands ; the fortress 
of Melenikon was betrayed to him by the Greek inha- 
bitants, and he then subdued in succession Skupes, 
Prosakon, and Pelagonia. About this time an oppor- 
timity presented itself of gaining possession of Thessa- 
lonica. The Despot John died in 1244, and was sucr 
ceeded by his brother Demetrius, a debauched youth. 
His own folly, and the treachery of his counsellors, 
involved him in war with the emperor, who, in the 
year 1246, took possession of Thessalonica, and sent 
Demetrius a prisoner to Lentianes. In the same year, 
while Baldwin IL, the Latin emperor of Constantinople, 
was begging aid from the courts of France and England 
to enable him to attack the Greeks, John III. weakened 

A. D. 


BOOK TV. the resources of the Franks by capturing their frontier 

ciLMS. fortpggggg pf Xzurulos and Bizya.^ 

This career of success was interrupted by the danger 
of losing the valuable island of Rhodes. While John 
Gavalas was absent from the city on some temporary 
business^ a Genoese fleet which happened to be cruising 
in the Archipelago treacherously surprised the place, 
though the republic of Genoa was then an ally of the 
Emperor of NicsBa, and enjoyed some commercial pri- 
vileges in his dominions. Soon after the Genoese 
gained possession of Rhodes, it was visited by William, 
prince of Achaia, and the Duke of Burgundy, who were 
on their way to join the crusade of St Louis in Cyprus. 
These princes left one hundred knights with their 
followers to assist in defending the place against the 
Greek emperor, on condition that they were to share 
in the profits to be obtsuned by the piracy of the 
Genoese. The Emperor John III. invested Rhodes 
without delay; and three hundred Asiatic cavalry 
having defeated the Frank knights before the walls of 
the city, the Genoese were compelled to suir^ider the 
place on being allowed to quit the island. The dis- 
satisfaction of the Genoese, which led to this act c^ 
hostility, was caused by some regulations of the Em* 
peror John III., which circumscribed the privileges 
conceded to the Genoese merchants by Theodore I. 
Though the existence of these privileges was found to 
be injurious to the trade of his Greek subjects, the 
emperor was compelled to cancel his new regulations 
in order to avoid the danger of being involved at 
the same time in war with both Genoa and Venice.^ 

^ Baldwin TL reoeWed aeren hxmdred marks of sQver from Homy IIL, 
though the court of England was jusUy inoensed againat John de BriennOi who, 
after receiying suocoutb from liigland for a cnuade, had employed his re- 
souToes to aid Philip Augnotiis in his hostilities against England.— Duoange, 
ffitt. de ComtantinopU, 109. 

' Aoropolita, 47. 


The active career of John III. was drawing to a dose. a. d. 
His last military expedition was against Michad 11., ^ ^^^^^ ' 
despot of Epiroa This prince had concluded a treaty 
with the empire, and hk eldest son, Nicephoros^ was 
engaged to many Maria, the emperoi^s grand-daughter. 
The intrigues of MichaeFs unde, the blind Theodore, 
disturbed this arrangement. After the death of his scm 
John, the emperor of Thessalonica, Theodore resided at 
Vodhena, which he had made the capital of asmall semi- 
independent principality. He now induced Michad to 
break off his connection with John III., and attack the 
possessions of the Greek emperor in Macedonia. The 
emperor hastened to Thessalonica, and Theodore flying 
at his approach, the imperial army occupied Vodhena, 
and advanced to the lake of Astrovos. The army was 
put into winter-quarters in the plain of Sarighioli Its 
supplies were drawn in great part from Berroea, and 
long trains of mules and camels were iacessantly em- 
ployed to fill the magazines formed to facilitate its 
future movements. In the mean time, Petraliphas, who 
commanded the troops of Epirus at Kastoria, deserted 
to the emperor, and placed him in possession of the 
upper valley of the Haliacmon, now called Anasditzas, 
by which he was able to render himsdf master of the 
passes over Mount Pindus at Deabolis, and secure an 
entry into Epirus by the valley of the Apsus. The Despot 
Michad, seeing the heart of his dominions laid open to 
invasion, purchased peace by ceding to the emperor 
the fortress of Prilapos, which he still held, as wdl as 
Vdesos and Albanopolis (Croia), with all the country he 
possessed north of the road between Dyirachium and 
Thessalonica. Nicephorus, liie despot's ddest son, was 
also delivered up as a hostage, but was honoured with 
the title of Despot The blind Theodore, whose restless 
intrigues had caused the ruin of his family and relations, 
was confined to a monastery for the rest of his life. 


ROOK IV. A man destined to occupy an important place in the 
caj^. jjjg^jQjy Qf ^i^Q decline of the Greek race now makes his 
first appearance in the annals of the empire. The 
Emperor John, after passing the winter at Vodhena^ 
spent the following summer moving about in order to 
establish regularity in the administration of his new 
conquests. While in the camp at Astrovos, Michael 
Paleologos^ a young and distinguished officer, high in 
the emperor's favour, and connected with several of the 
great Byzantine families, was accused of treason by 
Nikolas Manglabites, a noble of Melenikon. The em- 
peror remitted the investigation of the affair until he 
reached PhilippL A court of inquiry, composed of the 
ablest judges in the senate and the courts of law, was 
then formed to examine the evidence produced by the 
accuser. Two officers of the imperial army were ex- 
amined as witnesses : one declared that the other had 
made treasonaUe overtures to him on the part of Paleo- 
logos ; the other admitted that he had held some con- 
versation on the subject with the first witness, but 
declared that he had never communicated with Paleo- 
logos. As no further evidence could be procured, a 
duel was ordered. The first witness was victorious, 
but the vanquished persisted in denying all communi- 
cation with Paleologos, even at the block where he was 
decapitated. The court now called on Paleologos to 
prove his innocence by the ordeal, and receive in his 
hands a red-hot globe of iron. To this proposal he 
replied that he was willing to meet his accuser in 
battle, but as he could not expect Heaven to work a 
miracle for a sinner like himself, he had no doubt hot 
iron would bum his hands. The Bishop of Philadel- 
phia reproved his levity, and preached confidence in 
faith and innocence. Paleologos listened with great 
deference to his sermon, and meekly observed, at its 
conclusion, " Holy father, as you Imow so well the 


power of faith and innocence in a holy trial, I pray 
you to take the glowing iron from the furnace, and I 
will receive it in my hands with faith and submission." 
This judicious rebuke produced a favourable impression 
both on the judges and the emperor. Paleologos was 
restored to favour, and John endeavoured to attach 
him sincerely to the throne by marrying him in the 
following year to his niece Theodora. Michael Paleo- 
logos may have been innocent on this occasion, but 
when we consider that he was already twenty-seven 
years old, and that unbounded ambition and profound 
hypocrisy were the prominent features of his character, 
it is enough to praise his ability when accused, while 
the honourable conduct of the emperor excites a feeling 
of respect.^ 

The personal character of John Vatatzes is so inti- 
mately connected with the prosperity of his reign that 
every trait of his private life has a historical interest. 
He had a noble simplicity of mind, and a degree of 
candour rarely found in union with great talents 
among the Byzantine Greeks. He was attentive to 
every branch of the public administration, and viewed 
with deep regret the neglected state of agriculture 
throughout his dominions. He felt that to increase 
the productions of the earth was the surest basis of 

^ Acropolitii» p. 51. Thk apedes of ordeal, 17 dick fw^pov «n$df t^, was in 
use among ihe Greeks at this tima Paohymeres, LIS, dedares that he had 
seen it successfiilly endured. Cantacuzenos, lib. iiL, c 27, p. 489, states that 
a woman guilty of adultery carried a piece of glowing iron three times round 
a church, through the care of a siunt who protected £uth more than chastity. 
About this time, in Ibogland, the judges were commanded to give up the 
trial by fire and water, and it began to £eJl into disuse. The ordeal was a classio 
mode of proof— 

'H/umv d*rroifHM koi livdpovs aTpew X^potP^ 
Kal wvp dUpiTfW, Koi Aovs 6pK»iJuoT€iy, 

Sofhoolbb' AnUgone, y. 264. 
It is amusing to see how Phranteeei, who wrote under the descendants of 
Paleologos, represents his conduct. He says Michael offered boldly to seize 
the red-hot bidl of iron, but that the Patriarch Arsenios refused to admit a 
proceeding so completely at variance with Roman law and Qreek wisdom. 
Phrantzes overlooked the fact that Arsenios only became Patriarch during the 
reign of Theodore II.— Phrantzes, p. 8, ed. Bonn. 


BOOK IV. national pioBperity; and though his attainmentB in 
^'''•** ' political Bcdence were too limited to enable him to see 
that increased production can only be sustained bj 
increased fiEicilities of transport and more extended 
markets, he nevertheless did much to encourage agri- 
culture. Instead of wasting the public money on 
theoretical lectures and model farms, he devoted his 
private revenues to the improvement of his estates, 
and thus set an example to the large landed proprietoxs 
in the empire. He fought bravely as a soldier in the 
field of battle ; but in times of peace, instead of amuB- 
ing himself with tournaments and festivities, he over- 
looked his farms, examined his flocks and herds, im- 
proved the cultivation of his fields and the dwellings of 
his farmera His example soon brought agriculture into 
fashion, for it was seen that it was not only a way to 
gain the emperor's approbation, but also to augment the 
value of property. The economy of John III. was 
entirely free &om avarice, for when he was able to 
restrict the expenditure of the imperial household to 
the sum yielded by his private property, he relieved the 
public treasure from the burden^ without in any degree 
diminishing the splendour of his establishments. His 
liberality was farther attested by the foundation of 
hospitals and alms-houses, and his piety by the endow- 
ment of monasteries and the decoration of churches. 

A popular story, current during his lifetime, deserves 
to be recorded. He ordered the money collected ex- 
clusively by the sale of eggs on his property to be 
employed in purchasing a coronet^ ornamented with 
jewels, which he presented to the empress, as a testi- 
mony of the effects produced by prudent economy in 
trifling matters. The general attention which ihe 
Greeks paid to agriculture in consequence of the em- 
peror's exhortations and example proved extremely 
profitable, from the extensive demand for cattle and 


provisions which prevailed for several years in the a. d. 
territories of the Seljouk Turks — ^the empire of Nicssa *^^^ 
being almost the only portion of Asia Minor that 
escaped all injury from the invasions of the Moguls. 

Some of the emperor's commercial laws, though at 
variance with the true principles of political science, 
may have been of temporary advantage when aU com*- 
mercial intercourse was misdirected by restrictions, 
protections, and monopolies. A government which 
cannot venture to force its nobles to abandon a Ufe of 
idleness and luxury may nevertheless turn a consider- 
able portion of their expenditure into the public trea- 
sury, when it is possible, from the aristocratic constitu- 
tion of society, to tax those articles of luxury which 
are only consumed by the wealthy. But when the 
luxuries of the rich are consumed even in a small 
quantity by the poorer classes, then both financial 
science and political prudence command nations to 
make the truths of economical science the guide of 
their commercial legislation, and to adopt free trade 
as far as it is practicable. From these considerations 
it is possible that the sumptuary laws of John III. 
were productive of more good in restraining the ex- 
travagance of the nobility, and in filling the treasury, 
than they produced evil by diminishing trade. He 
promulgated a law prohibiting his subjects from wear- 
ing Persian, Syrian, and Italian silks and brocades, com- 
pelling them to use only the produce of Greek industry, 
under the pain of being dismissed from all honourable 
employments, excluded from court, and deprived of 
every social distinction. It must be observed that 
various treaties regulated the import duties on foreign 
silk, which the emperor could not increase, while taxa- 
tion fell heavy on the mulberry trees and on the raw 
silk of the Greek manufacturers. The anxiety of John 
to banish extravagance from his court is attested by a 


BOOK IT. severe rebuke which he gave hia son Theodore, for 

"''* going out hunting in a magnificent dress. He told 

him that the expenditure of a prince was too closely 

coimected with the blood of his subjects to allow him 

to waste his wealth in idle pomp.^ 

The popularity of John III. was greatly increased 
by the amiable character, domestic virtues, and great 
talents of the Empress Irene. John Asan, king of 
Bulgaria, sent his daughter Helena, who was betrothed 
to her son Theodore, to be educated under her care ; 
but when he determined to break off his alliance with 
the empire, he sent for his daughter. The king's ob- 
ject was evident, but the emperor scorned to retain his 
son's bride as a hostage; and the Princess Helena, who 
was only ten years old, was sent back to her father. 
As soon as all the Greeks who escorted her to her 
father s camp departed, and she understood that she 
was not to return to her dear mother, the empress, she 
was inconsolable. Her tears, lamentations, and praises 
at last excited her father's displeasure. As the court 
was crossing Mount Hsemus on horseback, the king 
lost his usual good temper, and, taking his daughter 
in his arms, seated her on his riding-cloak in front of 
his saddle, and threatened her with punishment if she did 
not cease to weep and praise her Greek mother. But 
the love of Irene was stronger than the fear of punish- 
ment ; the little Helena continued her lamentations, 
and it was remarked with amaze that her affectionate 
father became so angry as to give the child a slap on 
the cheek^ 

The Empress Irene died in 1241, and, two years 
after her death, the emperor married Anna, the natuiul 
daughter of the Emperor Frederic II. of Germany. 
Anna was extremely young ; and an Italian lady, called 

> Nioephorufl OregoimB, p. 24, 25. Pachymeree, torn. i. p. 21. 
' Acropolita, 28. NioephoruA Qregons, 26. 


Marchesina, accompanied her as directress of her court a. d. 

and mistress of the robes, according to our English _, * 

phraseology. The Emperor John fell passionately in 
love with this lady, who soon received the honours 
conferred in courts on the mistress of the sovereign, 
and was allowed to wear the dress reserved for mem- 
bers of the imperial family. The emperor was severely 
blamed for his conduct ; and the force of public opinion 
supporting the religious authority of the Greek clergy, 
enabled Nicephorus Blemmidas to give Marchesina a 
severe rebuke. Blemmidas had decorated the church 
of the monastery of which he was abbot so richly 
that it was generally visited by the courtiers. One 
day, while the abbot was performing divine service, 
the imperial mistress passed with her attendants^ and 
resolved to view the church ; but Blemmidas, informed 
of her approach, ordered the doors to be closed, declar- 
ing that with his permission an adulteress should 
never enter the church. Marchesina^ enraged at so 
severe a rebuke, inflicted so publicly, hastened to the 
palace, threw herself at her lover's feet, and begged him- 
to avenge the insult. John's love had not obscured 
his reason, and he felt the reproof was deserved : his 
only reply was, " The abbot would have respected me 
had I respected myself.** Blemmidas was the tutor of 
Theodore, the emperor's son ; and to the imfortunate 
connection with Marchesina we may perhaps attribute 
the circumstance that Theodore, contrary to the usual 
custom in the Eastern Empire, did not receive the 
imperial title during his father's life.^ 

The character of John, and his political administra- 
tion, deserve much praise ; but his public administra- 

^ Nioeph. Greg., 26. There are several philosophical, political, and geo- 
graphical works of Nicephorus Blemmidas still extant. For his philosophical 
works, see the Notes of Leo AUatios to Acropolita, cap. xxzii. Two political 
treatises are published by the Cardimd Blai, Scrip. Vetemm Nova VoUectiOf 
torn, ii., p. 609. For his geographical writingpB, see Scboell, Oe$ekickte der 
Griech. LUUratur, von Finder, lil 330. 


BOOK IT. tion was marked with some defects as well as his 
c«Mj>i, pjjyj^ij^ conduct. The gold coinage of the Byzantine 
empire, as we have had occasion to observe, presents 
the longest series of coins, possessing the same weight 
and purity, which the world has yet beheld ; and the 
degradation of the political institutions of the empire, 
the corruption of society, and adulteration of the coin- 
age, are contemporary erents. John III, had fallen 
on a debased age, in which the faith due by the sove- 
reign to the public was neither imderstood nor appre- 
ciated He foimd the standard of the imperial mint 
already debased, and he carried the adulteration of 
the coin still further, issuing money of which only two 
parts were of pure gold, and the remaining thbrd of 
alloy. His son persevered in the same standard ; but 
Michael VUL, after the reconquest of Cionstantinople, 
coined money of which fifteen parts only were gold 
and nine alloy. At last, Andronicus II., after issuing 
a coinage of fourteen parts of gold and ten of alloy, 
carried the depreciation of the standard so far as to 
make the gold byzant consist of equal parts of gold 
and alloy.^ 

John III. died at Nymphseum on the 30th October 
1254, after a reign of thirty-three years.^ 

I Pachymeres, ii. 348. UpAr^pov fuv y6D M ^mavmjif roS Aovm r6 diftotfiotf 
TOv Tcikap Tov r&¥ vofAurfUPntv XP*^^ ^^ tmi^Bos. The Latin panphraae of 
Poasin seems entirely to mistake the meaning of Fftohymerea. I have given 
the sense in the text. — Gibbon, xi 349, note, follows Poesin. 

■ Acropolita, 56. Niceph. Greg., 24. There seems to be an error in the 
chronolo^cal synopsis which Possin has annexed to his edition of Pachymeres, 
and it has misled Gibbon and Lebeau. Possin has adopted the erroneous date 
of the recovery of Constantinople from the Latins, which is given in the printed 
text of Acropolita ; bat this date is corrected by Nioetas, as Ducange points 
out, and is a mere inadvertency of transcription. Acropolita*s dates are gene- 
rally our best authority for the chronology of his time. He places the death 
of John III. in October 1254, by stating that Theodore L reigned eighteen 
yean (page 17) ; that John III. reigned thirty-three (page 56) ; and that Theo- 
dore II. leigned somewhat less than four (page 85). The proclamation of 
Michael YIII. (PUeologos) as emperor, in this way» IMls on the Ist of Januaiy 
1259. The common chronology places the death of John IIL in 1255, and 
the proclamation of Michael Psleologos in 1260. The reasons agunst admit- 
ting this last date will be mentioned hereafter. 



STANTINOPLB BT THB GBBEKB^ A.D. 1264-1261. 1254-1261. 

Rkon or Thbodobi TiAboabtb IL, 1254-1 258~CaABAOTXB or Thtodork 
IL — Akigdotb or Aobopolita— Buloabiah was— Atfaibs or Efibxtb — 


or Thbodobb IL — His dbath — Rbigh or John IY., aj>. 1258 — Iv^ 


or MiOHABL YIII., A.D. 1259— HiB ububpbd oobonatioh— Posmoir or 


IN Efibtts— Battlb or Pblaoohia— Ebooyebt or Constantinoflb. 

Theodore Lascaris II., the only bob of John IIL and 
Irene, was thirty-three years old at his father's death. 
His first care was to hasten the election of a patriarch ; 
and when Nicephorus Blemmidas declined the honour, 
the dignity was conferred on Arsenios, who, at the 
time of his election, was a lay brother in a monasteiy 
near the lake Apolloniades.^ In a single week he was 
consecrated deacon, priest, and patriarch. The coron- 
ation of Theodore was performed in the city of Nicsea, 
the new Patriarch placing the imperial crown on his 

Theodore II. was a man of considerable talent, and 
of a cultivated mind ; but his health was ruined, and 
his intellect affected, by repeated attacks of epilepsy. 
Participating in the common opinions of his age, the 
emperor sometimes believed that his malady was a 
Diviae judgment, and at others considered that it was 
the effect of the incantations of his enemies. At times 
he sunk into profound melancholy ; at times he broke 
out in uncontrollable fits of anger. But his public 
conduct was generally marked by judgment and deter- 
mination. He commanded his armies with ability ; 
and he fiUed the administration with men of talent, 

^ AcropoUta, 58. 


BOOK IV. in defiance of the nobility, who pretended an exclusive 
c«jijia. ^j^j^ ^ ^jj oflBces which conferred profit and patronage. 

The historian George Acropolita, who held the high 
charge of grand logothet or chancellor, has been in- 
duced, by wounded pride and affection, to record an 
anecdote which offers a truer and more graphic picture 
of the Emperor Theodore 11. than is usually found in 
the pedantic pages of the Byzantine writers.^ The con- 
ditions of a treaty with Bulgaria had been arranged by 
the intermediation of Ouros, a Russian prince, father- 
in-law of Michael, king of Bulgaria. Theodore had 
bestowed on the Russian presents to the value of 
twenty thousand byzants. Before the ratification of 
the treaty was exchanged, a report prevailed that it 
would not be ratified; and the emperor was induced to 
distrust the Russian by the insinuations of some in- 
triguing courtiers, who said that the negotiations had 
been entered into to gain time, and would of course be 

On the Feast of the Transfiguration (6th August 
1256), after the short sleep which invariably follows 
dinner during the summer heats throughout the East, 
the emperor mounted his horse to ride roimd his camp, 
which embraced a circumference of five miles. Theo- 
dore prided himself on the discipline of his army, and 
called his camp the movable city, which was the 
guardian of all the immovable cities of the empire. 
As he galloped off at a rapid pace, attended by his 

^ Acropolita was related to the imperial family, but his fisithor remained at 
Constantinople, after its conquest by the Cnicaders, in order to save bis pro- 
perty from confiscation. In the year 1233 he sent his son George to be 
educated at the court of John III., and the fature historian was brought up 
in the palace with Theodore II. After the recovery of Constantinople he was 
named Orator of the Church by Michael VIII. In 1274 he was sent ambas- 
sador to the council of Lyons, and swore to the union of the Greek and Latin 
churches. In 1281 he was sent as envoy to Trebizond, to conclude an alliance 
with the Emperor John II. of IVebizond ; not, as roost writers, copying an inad- 
vertency of Hankius, De ByzanHnorum Rerum Scriptoribut, 562, have said, to 
John, kmg of Bulgaria. He died in the following year. — Acropolita, 25. Pachy- 
meres, L 354. MedievcU Qreeee and Trtbizond, 400, note 1. 


military staff, the chancellor, spurring his mule, at- a. d. 

tempted to keep his post of honour at his master's ' 

side; but neither his own flowing robes, nor the amble 
of his well-fed mule, were suited to the rapid move- 
ments of the emperor, and Theodore turned to the 
panting Acropolita and said, "Moderate your pace, 
and join us at your leisure/' 

The inspection of the camp terminated at a level 
eminence, to which Acropolita hastened by a direct 
road, in order to take his place in the circle round the 
emperor. The malicious suggestions of the discon- 
tented courtiers dwelt on the mind of Theodore ; and 
he soon asked several of the great ofiBlcers of his court 
if they had received information that the Russian was 
a deceiver, and that the treaty would not be ratified. 
The ministers of state replied that no such news had 
reached them, and it seemed to them impossible, for 
no Christian prince could be guilty of such baseness. 
But to this the emperor observed, that Christian princes 
had often been foimd capable of performing strange 
actions to obtain large presents. He then turned to 
Acropolita, and asked him what he had to say. The 
chancellor replied, " I agree with my colleagues in 
thinking the report destitute of aU foundation ; but 
if Ouros has deceived us, and perjured himself, then 
Heaven will avenge the just cause by giving us the 
victory.'' This reply satisfied the emperor, who shortly 
after mounted his horse and returned towards his tent. 
The moon had already risen, and as Theodore rode 
slowly on, he renewed the conversation. Observing 
that Acropolita kept silence, he called to him. " Well, 
grand logothet ! tell us your opinion ; the business 
concerns you especially." To this the chancellor, with 
some display of dissatisfaction, answered, " How does 
it concern me particularly 1 If I had neglected to see 
the treaty properly drawn up, or omitted any requisite 

VOL. II. 2 c 


BOOK rr. formalitj in reoeiying the oath of the Buasian, it would 
caji^a. YyQ ^ criminal neglect ; but as this was done in due 
form, I cannot see how the business concerns me espe- 
cially/' The emperor was falling into one of his fits 
of ill-humour. The demure aspect of the chancellor on 
his sleek mule contrasting with the parade of armed 
nobles and prancing war-horses, and perhaps the 
pedantic manner and dogmatic tone of his reply, 
exercised more influence on his master's uncertain 
temper than the historian suspected The emperor 
repeated, ^* Tell us what you thmk about the matter/' 
The chancellor replied, '' I believe there is more false- 
hood than truth in the report that the treaty will not 
be ratified; but I cannot pretend to form a decided 
opinion on a matter that is uncertain/' Theodore 
angrily exclaimed, " It is precisely in uncertain mat- 
ters that a correct judgment is wanted ; every ass can 
give a decided opinion about what is evident" To 
this Acropolita testily replied, " So I have lived to be 
ranked as an ass/' Theodore then added, " Yes, you 
were always a fool, and now you are doating/' The 
luckless chancellor, not yet sensible of his danger in 
bandying words with a passionate despot, or recollect- 
ing only his habits of intercourse with his youthful 
playfellow, again replied, " Then it is better for a fool 
to be silent : let the wise speak/' Here the emperor 
lost all command over his temper : Acropolita says he 
put his hand to his sword ; at all events, he turned to 
Andronicus Muzalon, the grand domestikos, and said, 
" Dismount him/' Muzalon approached Acropolita, 
who immediately dismounted, and was seized by two 
of the club-bearers of the guard, and bastinadoed with 
the rods they carried in their hands for the punish- 
ment of meaner offenders. The chancellor endured 
the blows for some time in silence, while the emperor 
and the great officers of state sat on their horses round ; 


but at last, moved by the pain and the disgrace, he a. d. 
said aloud, " Lord Christ, why hast thou preserved ^ ^"^^^ '* 
my life in the hour of sickness to suflFer this misery V 
The tones of a voice so long endeared to him by firiend- 
ship restored the emperor's judgment. Acropolita had 
been one of the few friends who displayed a sincere 
attachment to Theodore, when the influence of Mar- 
chesina had brought him into trouble with his father. 
The emperor now turned away, saying to one of his 
oflScers, " Take him with you." 

This officer asked the chancellor where he wished to 
go ; but considering himself a prisoner, he recommended 
the officer to carry him to the tents of the Vardariot 
guards. When it appeared that the primmikerios of 
the Vardariots received no orders to retain him pri- 
soner, Acropolita retired to his own tent, where he 
shut himself up in the closest seclusion. He pretends 
that the emperor placed a guard to watch his move- 
ments, privately fearing that he might desert to Bul- 
garia, or fly to the Despot of Epirus. He remained in 
his tent a month, resisting the suggestions of his friends, 
and of many prelates and dignitaries of the court, that 
he should ask a private audience of the emperor. He 
had determined not to serve a prince who could treat 
his most devoted servants in such an unworthy man- 
ner. In the mean time, the treaty was ratified by the 
King of Bulgaria, the imperial camp was removed to 
Thessalonica, and negotiations were opened with the 
Despot of Epirus. Manuel Lascaris, the emperor's 
grand-uncle, and George Muzalon, the protovestiarios, 
now visited Acropolita, and carried him, by the em- 
peror's order, to a council of ministers. When the 
emperor arrived to take his place on the throne, Acro- 
polita saluted him in the usual form, but stood behind 
the members of the council. The emperor, observing 
this, said to him, " Take your place as usual ;" and as 

Ch. I. f 3. 


BOOK lY. Acropolita had neither resigned the office of chancellor, 
nor been removed from it, he placed himself by the 
emperor's side. Theodore then stated the relations of 
the empire with the Despot of Epiriis, and gave his 
official orders to the chancellor as if nothing had 
occurred. Both shut up their feelings in their own 
breasts, and our interest in the personal relations of 
Theodore Lascaris and George Acropolita is lost in the 
stream of history.^ 

• The military administration of Theodore 11. was able 
and successful. His wars with Bulgaria and Epirus 
extended the power of the empire, and prepared the 
Greeks for the recovery of Constantinople. He was 
hardly seated on the throne when Michael, king of 
Bulgaria, thinking that his seclusion from public busi- 
ness during the latter years of his father's reign would 
paralyse his activity, invaded Thrace, and overran all 
the country inhabited by a Bulgarian, Sclavonian, and 
Vallachian population. The colonists were all willing 
to throw oflF the Greek yoke, and unite with their inde- 
pendent countrymen.2 The fortresses of Stenimachos, 
Prestitza, Krytzimos, and Tzepaina, with all the forts 
in the province called Achridos, on Mount Rhodope, 
were captured almost without resistance.' 

At the commencement of the year 1255, in the 
middle of winter, when the Bulgarians thought no 
Greek army would take the field, the Emperor Theo- 
dore II. marched to Adrianople, and after remaining a 
single night pushed forward to attack the Bulgarian 
camp on the banks of the Hebrus. The enemy, ap- 
prised of his approach, abandoned their intrenchments, 
and left all their stores to the Greeks. A heavy fall 
of snow, rendering the passage of Mount Hsemus im- 

* Acropolita, 69. " Acropolita, 58. 

* This region of Achridos, mentioned both by Nioetas and Acropolita, must 
not be confoimded with Achrida. 

BULGARIAN WAR, A.D. 1255-1256. 405 

practicable, compelled the emperor to lead his army a. d. 

back to Adrianople. From thence he detached a con- ' 

siderable force to clear the province of Achridos of the 
enemy's troops. This corps was ordered to join another 
body advancing from Serres, and then to eflfect a jimc- 
tion with the main army at Tzepaina. The body of 
troops which had been sent to Serres, under the com- 
mand of Alexius Strategopoulos, suflFered a disgraceful 
defeat from a small body of Bulgarians ; and the news 
of this disaster caused Dragotas, who had previously 
betrayed Melenikon to the Greeks, to surrender that 
important fortress to the Bulgarians. But the emperor 
had in the mean time, with wonderful rapidity, retaken 
Pristitza, Stenimachos, Krytzimos, and the towns on the 
northern slopes of Rhodope, between the valleys of the 
Hebrus and the Mestos ; so that, on hearing of the 
defeat at Serres, he was able, without a moment's 
delay, to march on that place. He continued his ad- 
vance to the pass of Roupelion, where the Strymon 
forces its way between precipitous rocks. The Bul- 
garians had fortified this strong position, but as soon 
as they were assailed by a corps of light troops, which 
occupied the summits overlooking the pass, they re- 
treated. Their main body was overtaken and defeated. 
Dragotas was slain, and the emperor entered Melenikon 
in triumph on the following day. From Melenikon, 
Theodore removed his headquarters to Thessalonica, 
and subsequently to Vodhena, where he was detained 
some time by illness. On his recovery, he again placed 
himself at the head of the army, and took Prilapos and 
Velesos, after which he returned by Nevstapolis through 
an arid and rocky district, in which the horses of the 
cavalry passed two days without water, to Strumitza, 
Melenikon, and Serres, where he encamped. All the 
conquests of the Bulgarians had been recovered in this 
long campaign, except the small fort of Patmon, in 


BOOK iv. AchridoSy and the frontier fortress of Tzepaina. Pat- 
^lllf mon was taken by one of the imperial generals ; but at 
Makrolivada, about four days' march from Adrianople, 
the emperor, who proposed to besiege Tzepaina in per- 
son, was overtaken by a snow-storm, and compelled to 
put his army into winter-quarters.^ 

Theodore returned to Asia, and passed the winter at 
Nymphaion, directing the civil administration of the 
empire with the same activity he had displayed in the 
conduct of its military affairs. The headquarters of 
the army was at Didymoteichos, and the chief com- 
mand was intrusted to Manuel Lascaris and Constan- 
tinos Margarites.^ These generals, in the spring of 
1256, allowed themselves to be drawn into an engage- 
ment by the Bulgarians, who had enrolled in their 
service a strong body of Romans, and the Greeks were 
defeated. Margarites was taken prisoner, but Lascaris 
escaped to Adrianople. Theodore immediately hastened 
to Europe, and his presence soon restored discipline 
and confidence among the troops. The Romans were 
defeated with great loss, and the Bulgarian king, aston- 
ished at the ease with which the emperor converted 
his defeated soldiers into an attacking army, sent his 
father-in-law, the Eussian prince Ouros, to treat for 
peace, as has been already mentioned. The treaty was 
concluded on the condition that the Ring of Bulgaria 
should withdraw all his troops to the north of Mount 
Haemus, and cede to the emperor the fortress of 

As soon as the affairs of Bulgaria were settled, the 
Emperor Theodore directed his attention to Epirus. 

^ Acropolita, 59, 65. 

' GoDBtantinos M«rgaiite8, according to the insolent expresaon of Aero- 
polita, was a rude soldier, brought up on barley bread and bran, whose pro- 
nunciation proclaimed his want of education. He was a native of Neokastron, 
in the valley of the Hermus, and held the office of grand tsaous. — Acropolita, 
67 ; Pachymeres, iL 150. 

' Acropolita, 69. 


The Despot Michael II., who had violated the treaty by a. a 
which his son Nicephorus had engaged to marry the ^ ^^'^ '' 
emperor's daughter Maria, now sent his wife and son 
Nicephorus to sue for peace on such terms as Theodore 
might think fit to dictate. The marriage of Nicephorus 
and Maria was celebrated at Thessalonica ; but the 
emperor insisted on the cession of the city of Servia on 
the Haliacmon, and of Dyrrachium, before he would 
conclude a treaty of peace. Michael, finding that his 
wife and son were retained as hostages at the imperial 
court, consented to the cession of these valuable fron- 
tier fortresses. 

The emperor returned to Asia with his army, leaving 
only small garrisons in a few fortresses in Europe. The 
inspection of the civil and military administration in 
the country between Berrhoea and Dyrrachium was 
intrusted to George Acropolita^ who, the emperor ob- 
served, had laid aside the frankness of their former 
intercourse. He hoped that a short absence would 
eflface entirely the memory of the chancellor's punish- 
ment ; but AcropoUta and Theodore never met again. 
Acropolita left Berrhoea on his tour of inspection in 
the month of December 1256. When he reached Pri- 
lapos, he found that the Albanian chiefs had revolted 
in the neighbouring moimtains, and he was soon closely 
besieged, for the troops of the Despot Michael joined 
the insurgents ; and the despot, having declared war 
with the empire, took Berrhoea and Yo^ena, and shut 
up Michael Lascaris in Thessalonica. 

Michael Paleologos, a restless intriguer, but an able 
officer, was now sent to take the command at Dyrra- 
chium. He had been governor of Nicsea during the 
Bulgarian war ; but, hearing that his uncle had been 
arrested on a charge of treason, he abandoned his high 
office, and fled to the Turks. This conduct might have 
been considered a proof that he had been connected 


BOOK IT. with treasonable intrigues by a sovereign less suspicious 
cbmjj^s. ^Yj^^ Theodore ; but Paleologos contrived to produce 
a feeling in his favour, by despatching a circular before 
his flight to all the officers under his orders, ordering 
them to pay the strictest attention to their duty, for 
he had only withdrawn himself to gain time, and he 
hoped to be able to prove to the emperor the injustice 
of the accusations which had been brought against him 
by his enemies. These letters, and the good offices of 
the Bishop of Iconium, obtained his pardon. On re- 
turning to court, he took a solemn oath, confirmed by 
terrible imprecations, that he would preserve inviolable 
fidelity to the emperor and his infant son. He was 
then sent to command the troops at Dyrrachium. 

The arrival of Paleologos at Thessalonica revived the 
courage of the Greeks. He led the troops out to meet 
the enemy ; and in a skirmish near Vodhena dismounted 
Theodore, the natural son of the Despot Michael, who 
commanded the Epirots. The young Theodore was 
slain by a Turk in the imperial service before he was 
recognised. This success opened the road to Dyrra- 
chiimi, to which Paleologos marched with the greatest 
haste, visiting Prilapos, and affording Acropolita some 
temporary relief on his way. But as soon as he quitted 
the neighbourhood, the Despot Michael again occupied 
the passes ; and the inhabitants of Prilapos, cut off" 
from all communication with Thessalonica and Dyrra- 
chium, became tired of a war in which they had no 
direct interest, and opened their gates to the Epirot 
troops. Acropolita, unable to defend the citadel, capi- 
tulated on condition that he should be allowed to retire 
with the garrison to Thessalonica ; but the despot, in 
violation of this capitulation, detained him a prisoner, 
and even confined him for some time chained in a 
dungeon. The campaign of 1257 proved extremely 
unfavourable to the Greeks ; and the illness of the 


emperor prevented his taking the field in person, in the a. d. 
year 1258, to recover the ground lost by his generals. ^ ^^'^ ^' 

The latter days of Theodore were afflicted by fearftd 
attacks of epilepsy, which produced such an effect on 
his temper that he appeared at times to be affected 
with temporary insanity. Participating in the pre- 
judices of his age, he suspected that his malady was 
increased by the sortileges of his enemies ; and this 
suspicion opened a door for many intrigues at his 
court, and for the most iniquitous accusations. The 
only way to escape condemnatioD, when a charge of 
this nature was made, consisted in xmdergoing the 
ordeal of holding red-hot iron in the hand ; and the 
historian Pachymeres declares that he saw this trial 
imdergone without injury.^ At this time, Michael 
Paleologos was the most popular man among the 
nobUity. The failing health of the emperor, and the 
youth of the emperor's son, prepared men for a revolu- 
tion in the order of succession; and many already 
spoke of the title of Paleologos to the imperial crown 
as better founded than that of the reigning family, for 
Michael was descended from the eldest daughter of 
Alexius III. It was fortimate for Michael Paleologos 
that he was absent from the court. He was an accom- 
plished hjrpocrite, and his apparent frankness of man- 
ner seemed so incompatible with the falsehood and 
dissimulation which formed the basis of his character, 
that he deceived the prudence of John III, and con- 
cealed his unprincipled ambition even from the suspi- 
cious Theodore. But had Michael Paleologos been 
near the court, he would in all probability have lost 
his eyesight during one of the emperor's fits of passion. 
As it was, the emperor committed an unpardonable 
outrage on his family. Martha, the sister of Michael, 

* PacbymereB, L 17. 

Ca. 1. 1 & 


BOOK IT. had a beautiful daughter, whom the emperor ordered 
the family to bestow in marriage on one of hia pages, 
named Yalanidiotes. The young man gained the 
affections of the high-bom damsel, when the emperor, 
changing his mind, forced her to marry a man of her 
own rank A report that this marriage was not con- 
summated, induced Theodore to suspect that both this 
event and a violent attack of his disease was caused by 
some charm the mother had used. He became furious, 
and ordered Martha^ though she was allied to the im- 
perial family, to be enclosed in a sack with a number 
of cats, which were pricked with javelins, that they 
might torture the imfortunate lady. She was brought 
into court with the sack fastened at her neck, and 
examined concerning her supposed incantations, but 
nothing could be extracted from her by this infamous 
tyranny.^ The emperor, however, fearing that Michael 
Paleologos, on hearing how his sister had been treated, 
might join the Despot of Epirus, or raise the standard 
of revolt, sent an officer to arrest him before the news 
could reach Dyrrachium. Michael was brought to 
Magnesia as a prisoner ; but he contrived, by his 
insinuating manners, again to allay the suspicions of 
Theodore, who, finding that his end was fast approach- 
ing, was anxious to secure the services of Michael for 
his infant son. The emperor believed that he had 
destroyed the most dangerous enemies of his house by 
depriving Constantine Strategopoulos and Theodore 

1 This mode of torture has not fallen into disuse in Oreeoe. Sir Edmund 
Lyons had occasion to call the attention of the British government to the fact 
that a woman had been tortured in a similar way, to force from her some 
evidence concerning acts of brigandage. If Great l^tain bad compelled the 
regent Armansperg to oi^ganise instead of ruining the municipal institutions 
of the Greeks, and taken care that the money ftimished by England should be 
spent on roads and maritime communications, in place of being wasted, as it 
was, on Bavarian regents, Bavarian troops, and a Bavarian palace, our Foreign 
Secretary would have been troubled with fewer despatches about brigandage 
and piracy ; and Greece would have been in a much more prosperous state 
than it is after ten years of self-government 


Philes of sight, and cutting out the tongue of Nice- a.d. 
phorus Alyattes.! '^''^^* 

Theodore Lascaris 11. died at Magnesia in the month 
of August 1258, in the thirty-seventh year of his age, 
and was buried in the monastery of Sosander by the 
side of his father.^ With all his faults, Theodore II. 
had many generous feelings, and he was a liberal prince 
to his people. Though he accumulated a considerable 
treasure in the fort of Astyza on the Scamander, as his 
father had done in the citadel of Magnesia, his govern- 
ment was nevertheless more free from financial oppres- 
sion than that of the Greek emperors generally. His 
military arrangements for the protection of his domi- 
nions were extremely judicious. The mountain for- 
tresses that covered the plains of Asia from the incur- 
sions of the Turks and Turkmans were carefully gar- 
risoned, and the highland population that furnished the 
local guards for the mountain passes was freed from the 
payment of the land-tax.® Theodore also displayed a 
sincere love of learning, though his attention was ex- 
clusively directed to theology and legendary history. 
He was impopular among the Greek nobility, because 
he conferred official appointments with reference to the 
merits of the candidates, making small account of the 
aristocratic pretensions of the Byzantine families, who 
would fain have reserved every place of honour and 
emolument in the court and public administration to 
themselves and their connections.* This pretension of 
the Constantinopolitan nobles naturally became more 
offensive to the other Greeks when the capital was re- 
moved from Byzantium. The piety of Theodore was 
irreproachable, but he steadily excluded the patriarch 

^ Acropolita, 85. Fachymeree, i. 12. 

' He did not reign quite four years. Acropolita, 85. Compare Nicephorus 
Gregoras, SO and 85. 

' Pachymeres, i. 7. See the testimony in favour of the good administration 
of John IIL and Theodore II. again at page 40. 

* Pachymeres, i. 20. 

en. 1. 1 a. 


BOOK IV. and clergy from all interference in politics ; and this 
circumstance generally marks a period of prosperity in 
the administration of the Eastern Empire.^ 

John IV. was eight years old at his father's death. 
George Muzalon, his father's prime-minister, was ap- 
pointed tutor to the young emperor, and regent during 
his minority. The Patriarch Arsenios was joined with 
him as a colleague. Muzalon, knowing that a power- 
ful party among the nobility was hostile to his ad- 
ministration, feared an insurrection ; he therefore 
assembled a council of all the officers of state and 
leading nobles, and offered to resign the regency, pro- 
posing that the assembly should immediately elect his 
successor. Muzalon appears not to have fathomed the 
ambition or suspected the hypocrisy of Michael Paleo- 
logos, who was his wife's uncle; but Michael had 
already determined to make the unpopularity of Muza- 
lon the means for usurping the throne ; and he per- 
ceived that if another regent should be named, and 
Muzalon remain tutor to the yoimg emperor, aU imme- 
diate hope of effecting a revolution would be anni- 
hilated for the time. He therefore used all his influence 
to induce the council to ratify the choice of the late 
emperor, and Muzalon was easily persuaded to assume 
the office of regent when he saw his authority thus 

In the mean time, a powerful party was plotting 
the ruin of the regent, whom the nobles regarded as 
the principal author of the cruelties of Theodore. The 
immense wealth and numerous households of a few 
families enabled them to make the people of Magnesia 
their partisans. The troops alone were exempt from 
their influence, but the military were in general attached 
to Michael Paleologos, and hostile to Muzalon. Nume- 

* Pachymeres, i. 68. 


rous predictions were circulated, which foretold that 
Michael Paleologos was destined to reign.^ As grand 
constable he commanded the foreign auxiliaries, and 
these troops displayed a seditious spirit, on the ground 
that they were deprived of a donative which the late 
emperor was about to confer on them. The conspira- 
tors also spread a report that Muzalon had caused the 
death of Theodore II. by his sortileges, in order to act 
as regent. The memory of Theodore was popular 
both among the soldiers and the citizens, and it was 
therefore necessary to separate the cause of the regent 
from that of the yoxmg emperor in order to secure 
success. The plan of a revolution was soon organised, 
and the regent was assassinated by the nobles, xmder 
the cover of a popular tumult. While the clergy, the 
ofl&cers of state, and the ladies of the court were per- 
forming the funeral ceremonies appropriated to the 
ninth day after Theodore's death, at the monastery of 
Sosander, a band of soldiers burst into the church and 
murdered Muzalon, his two brothers, his son-in-law, 
and his secretary.^ The regent was stabbed at the 
altar; the dead bodies were hewed in pieces by the 
mob ; the palace of the Muzalons was burned, and their 
property plundered ; yet no civil or military authority 
attempted to check the disorders of the mob until its 
fury was satiated. 

Michael Paleologos was only one of the conspira- 
tors who had plotted the murder of Muzalon, but he 
resolved to be the principal gainer by the crime. The 
pretensions that might have been advanced to the re- 
gency by the families of Lascaris, Vatatzes, Nestongos, 

^ See an absurd story coDceming the Bishop of Dyrrachium and the Arch- 
bishop of Thessalonica in Pachymeres, i. 15. 

' The private secretary of Muzalon was murdered in the tumult, on 
account of his resemblance to the protoyestiarios, and the similarity of his 
dress, all persons wearing mourning at the ceremony. He was a relation of 
the historian Qeorge Pachymeres, i 33. 

A. D. 

414 EliPIRB OF mOMiL. 

BOOK IV. Tomikea, Strategopoulos, Philes, Eavallarios, Philan- 
ciuuia. jjj^QpgjjQg^ Cantacuzenos, Aprenos, and Livadarios, were 
withdrawn. The popularity of Paleologos with the 
military, and his superior talents, pointed him out as 
the fittest man to conduct the government; but he de- 
clined the office until he had secured the approbation 
of the Patriarch Arsenios, the surviving tutor of the 
young emperor, and the Patriarch was then absent at 
Nicsea. In the mean time, Paleologos was named 
Grand-duke, an office which gave him no direct con- 
trol over the finances. The treasury was under the 
guard of a special body of Varangians^ and could only 
be opened by certain officers on the presentation of 
warrants duly countersigned by the heads of the various 
departments in the imperial administration. Paleologos, 
nevertheless, contrived by his intrigues and frauds to 
obtain the issue of money, imauthorised by the strict 
rules and immediate exigencies of the public service; 
and this money was employed in gaining the nobility, 
the military, and the clergy to support his party. His 
liberality to others, and his personal indifference to 
money, greatly increased his popularity. While others 
were enriched by his favour, his own fortune remained 
smaU, and his household was conducted with the greatest 
simplicity, and its expense was limited to three byzants 
a-day.^ When the Patriarch returned to Magnesia, 
Michael Paleologos was, by xmiversal consent, and at 
the particular suggestion of the clergy, invested with 
the office of tutor to the Emperor John IV. He was 
soon after honoured with the rank of Despot, second 
only to that of Basileus, and became invested with abso- 
lute control over every branch of the administration. 
But the throne was always considered the only safe 

^ PachymereB, L 42, says he heard Michael give evidence to this effect, on 
oath, in a lawsuit relating to the dowry of his niece. Concerning the treasury, 
compare Pachymeres, i. 41 ; and Nicephorus Qregoras, 41. 


resting-place for political intn^niers of the highest rank a. d. 
in the Eastern Empire, and Paleologos was determined - ' ^ ^ 
to keep the power he had obtained. His partisans 
were therefore instructed to declaim in favour of an 
elective monarchy, and of the necessity of giving the 
young emperor an able colleague, as the only chance of 
avoiding, or, at all events, of crushing rebellion. The 
plans of Paleologos were also furthered by the news of 
a coalition, formed by the Despot of Epirus, the King 
of Sicily, and the Prince of Achaia, for the conquest of 
Thessalonica and the European provinces of the em- 
pire. The military and the partisans of Paleologos 
loudly demanded the election of an emperor capable of 
averting the danger, and succeeded in obtaining the 
proclamation of Michael VIII. on the 1st January 
1259.^ The election was conducted with unusual for- 
malities. Michael was publicly raised on a shield, 
supported on one side by bishops, and on the other by 
nobles ; while the people, the native legions, and the 
Latin and Sclavonian mercenaries, hailed him with 
acclamations. Before the ceremony he had signed 

^ The reasons for placing the proclamation of Michael VIIL (Paleologos) in 
1 259 require explanation, as his reign has invariably been supposed by modem 
writers to commence in 1260. Pachymeres says expressly, i 48 and 61, that 
he was proclaimed on the 1st of the month Hekatombaion of the second indio- 
tion. This must be January 1 , 1 259, for the second indiction began on the 1st of 
September 1258, and terminated on the 31st August 1269. Again, Pachy- 
meres, i. 360, says that Michael died on the 11th of Skirrophorion, am. 6791 
(Uth December 1282), after a reign of twenty-four years. Concerning this 
date no doubt exists. Duoange, however, to get rid of the difficulty caused 
by fixing the proclamation of Michael in 1260, says that Pachymeres is in 
error concerning the length of Michael's reign, which was only twenty-three 
years. — Fam, Attg, Bye., 233. Several passages may be adduced to prove 
that there is no error in the text of Pachymeres in this place. He says, iL 4, 
that Andronicus II. was twenty-four yean old at his fother^s death ; and at 
the termination of his history he says it records the events of forty>nine 
years, the age of the Emperor Andronicus II. Now, the history begins at the 
commencement of the reign of Michael, which, being twenty-four years before 
the accession of Andronicus, must be in 1259. The dates and events recorded 
by Acropolita sgree with this. The catalogpie of the Patriarchs in Baoduri's 
Imperium Orientale, i. 200, appears from Banduri's note, ii. 932, to have men- 
tioned the third year of Michael's reign as the year in which Constantinople 
was retaken by the Greeks. The accuracy of Duoange requires that his slightest 
error should be carefully rectified. Possin's chronological tables to Pachymeres 
hardly deserve so much attention as they have received. 


BOOK IV. a written certificate of his having sworn, in presence 
^fluMi .^£ ^^^ Patriarch, to restore the full sovereignty to the 
young emperor, John IV., on his attaining his majority, 
and not to advance any claim to the imperial dignity 
in favour of his heirs. In consequence of this oath, 
the prelates of the Greek church, who were generally 
servile instruments of the court, pronounced a sen- 
tence declaring that Michael Paleologos did not violate 
the oaths he had taken to John III. and Theodore II. 
by accepting the crown on these conditions. The 
Patriarch Arsenios disapproved of this evasion, and 
refused to take any part in the election ; but his sus- 
picions and distrust were allayed by the hypocritical 
assurances and modest demeanour of Michael 

At the coronation the usurper dropped his mask, 
and yet the Patriarch was weak enough to betray the 
trust imposed on him as tutor to the Emperor John 
rV. It was understood that the ceremony of the coro- 
nation of the two emperors was to take place at the 
same time in the cathedral of Nicaea. The coronation 
of the young emperor must in that case have preceded 
Jiiat of his colleague. To avoid this, Michael concerted 
with a number of bishops that the coronation of John 
IV. should be deferred, but without allowing the 
Patriarch to hear anything of their plan. When the 
moment arrived to receive the crown, Michael stepped 
forward alone. The Patriarch called for John IV., and 
refused to proceed with the ceremony : but neither 
law, honour, morality, nor religion were then predomi- 
nant in the Greek mind ; and the majority of the 
bishops present having been previously gained, the 
Patriarch, finding himself unsupported by the clergy, 
was so compliant as to perform the ceremony. The 
only prelate who made a long resistance was the Arch- 
bishop of Thessalonica. He refused to sign the corona- 
tion act, though he was reproached with having pre- 

Michael's first measures. 417 

dieted that Michael was destined to reign, and he only 
yielded when the tumultuous cries of the populace and 
the threats of the Varangian guards backed the in- 
stances of the senators, and made him fear that little 
respect would be shown for his episcopal sanctity by 
an assembly engaged in violating the law and consti- 
tution of the empire. 

The first orders given by Michael VIII., after his 
coronation, were intended to aUay all suspicions con- 
cerning his ulterior intentions. A clause was inserted 
in the oath of allegiance which was administered to 
all the subjects of the empire, binding them to take up 
arms against either of the emperors who should attempt 
any enterprise against the other. This measure was 
probably forced on Michael by the Patriarch's opposi- 
tion. But he purchased supporters of his usurpation 
by lavishing the pubUc money. To gain new friends 
and reward his partisans, the pay of the senators was 
increased, large donations were bestowed on the troops, 
great promotions were made among the officers, the 
state debtors were released, and maiiy new pensions 
were granted. The mob was bribed by largesses, the 
people were flattered by public harangues, and the 
nobles were entertained by festivals. In short, Michael 
Paleologos commenced his reign by wasting the public 
wealth, corrupting the people, and weakening both the 
national character and the national resources ; by 
acting the part of an unprincipled demagogue, he be- 
came a successful usurper. He lived to reap the bitter 
fruits of his criminal conduct. The lavish expenditure 
by which he had gained the nobles, the clergy, and 
the populace, became a permanent burden on the 
finances ; to defend his crown he was compelled to 
oppress his subjects with new exactions, and the power- 
ful armies which the popularity of John III. and Theo- 
dore II. had enabled them to bring into the field 

VOL. II. 2 D 

A. D. 

Ck. I. 1 8. 


BOOK IT. against foreign enemies, were, during the latter years 
of the reign of Michael, dispersed to repress the rebel- 
lious disposition of the Greeks. 

The position of the empire at the period of Michael's 
election was extremely favourable to the extension of 
the power of the Greeks ; and had the new emperor 
been able to diminish the weight of the public burdens, 
and pursue the domestic policy traced out by his two 
predecessors, a great increase in the population and 
resources of the Greeks in Asia Minor must have fol- 
lowed. The imperial armies were numerous and well 
organised, the inhabitants of the moimtainous districts 
of Phrygia and Bithynia formed a bold and active 
militia, which not only garrisoned a line of forts that 
commanded all the roads, bridges, and mountain passes, 
but also furnished an eflScient body of infantry for 
foreign service. The bowmen from the country roimd 
Nic8ea occupied at this time a prominent place in the 
Greek armies, and in general the courage and quality 
of the native troops showed great improvement. This 
arose in part from the advance which had taken place 
in the social position of the Greek peasantry after the 
conquest of Constantinople by the Crusaders. The 
cultivators of the soil were now the proprietors of the 
lands they tilled, and they fought like men who pos- 
sessed rights and privileges which they would sacrifice 
their lives to defend.^ 

While the Greek empire had been gradually recover- 
ing strength, the neighbouring states had rapidly de- 
clined. The empires of the Seljouk Turks of Ico- 
nium, and of the Belgians at Constantinople, which had 
successively threatened the Greek nation with extinc- 
tion, were both humbled. The Turkish empire was 
rent into fragments by civil wars, in which fathers, 

1 The bowmen of Nicsea are frequently mentioned. AcropoUta, 93 ; Pachy- 
meree, L 79, 129, 146. 


sons, and brothers of the line of Seljouk were arrayed a. d. 
in arms against one another. Tyranny ruined its re- ' ^"^^ ^' 
sources, and the invasions of the Moguls completed its 
ruin. Gsuaseddin Kaikhosrou IL, who died in 1247^ 
was a weak and luxurious prince. His son, Azeddin 
Kaikous II., after sustaining several defeats from the 
Tartar armies, was driven from his dominions by his 
brother, Bokneddin KQidy-Arslan IV., and sought 
safety from the firatemal discord which seemed the in- 
heritance of his race, by retiring into the Greek empire. 

Baldwin IL, emperor of Constantinople, after beg- 
ging succours over aU Europe, and wasting the supplies 
he received from the ambition of the Pope and the 
generosity of St Louis in maintaining an imperial 
court, lived by tearing the copper from the domes of 
the pubHc buildings erected by the Byzantine emperors, 
which he coined into money, and by borrowing gold 
from Venetian bankers, in whose hands he placed his 
eldest son Philip as a pledge.^ To such a miserable 
condition was the empire of the Crusaders now reduced, 
and so great was the diminution of the military class 
in the Latin population, that the only eflficient guard at 
Constantinople was maintained by Venetian merchants, 
and the existence of the empire was dependent on 
foreign succours. 

The kingdom of Bulgaria was a principal object of 
attention in conducting the foreign affairs of the Greek 
empire, both on accoimt of its power and the contiguity 
of its frontier. A considerable part of the imperial 
territory in Europe was, moreover, inhabited by Bulga- 
rians and Sclavonians, who were now almost amalga- 
mated into one people. While John Asan reigned in 
Bulgaria, he had maintained the balance between the 
Latin and Greek empires ; but his death, the youth of his 

^ Philip remained long in pledge at Venice. The lenders were of the fiunily 
of Capello. — Ducange, Higt, de Omttantiuople, 151. 

Ch. 1. 1 S. 


BOOK IV. sons, the independent position of the great Bulgarian 
nobles, and the low state of civilisation in the country, 
combined to render thekingdoma scene of anarchy, and to 
destroy its influence abroad. Constantine Tech at length 
renderedhimselfmasterofthethrone, by expelling Mytzes, 
the last sovereign of the family of Asan. Constantine 
had allied himself with Theodore IL, and espoused his 
daughter Irene, but he was not in condition to engage 
in war with Michael VIII. But as Michael was anxious 
to secure peace on the northern frontier in order to 
direct his forces against the Latins, he sent Acropolita, 
who had been released from his captivity in Epirus, as 
ambassador to the court of Constantine, king of Bul- 
garia, in 1260.1 

The only frontier power that possessed the internal 
strength and energy necessary for disputing the pro- 
gress of the Greek empire, at this time, was Epirus. 
But the territories ruled by the Despot Michael were 
inhabited by a population consisting of various races, 
which showed no disposition to amalgamate into 
one nation. Sclavonians, Yallachians, Albanians, and 
Greeks occupied considerable territories, in which they 
were separately governed by their respective usages, 
institutions, and laws, and each defended its local 
administration both against its neighbours and the 
prince. The power of the Despot of Epirus was con- 
sequently less despotic than that of most contemporary 
princes ; but the warlike disposition of a great portion 
of his subjects rendered him a dangerous neighbour. 

Michael VIIL, as soon as he acquired the direction 
of the government, had endeavoured to conclude peace 
with the Despot of Epirus, who had already extended 
his conquests to the banks of the Vardar. The empe- 
ror offered to allow him to retain his conquests, on 

^ Acropolita, 97. 

WAR IN EPIRUS, A.D. 1259. 421 

condition that he released his two prisoners. Aero- a. d. 
polita and Chavaron ; but the despot, having formed ' * 
an alliance with Manfred, king of Sicily, and William, 
prince of Achaia, expected by their assistance to be- 
come master of Thessalonica, and indulged in the hope 
of expelling the emperor's troops from Europe. When 
Michael Paleologos found that war was inevitable, he 
sent his brother John with a considerable army to 
oppose the despot, (a.d. 1259). The Epirot camp was 
established at Kastoria ; but John Paleologos, pene- 
trating suddenly into upper Macedonia by the pass of 
Vodhena, compelled the despot to abandon his position 
in great haste. The Greeks regained possession of 
Achrida, Deavolis, Prespa, Pelagonia, and Soskos, while 
the despot, retiring behind the chain of Pindus, waited 
for the arrival of four hundred knights, who had been 
sent to his aid by Manfred, king of Sicily, and of a 
considerable body of Latin troops under the command 
of William, prince of Achaia. When he was joined by 
these auxiliaries, his army was much stronger than 
that of the Greeks, and he resumed the oflFensive. 
Advancing by the pass of Vorilas, he recovered pos- 
session of Stanou, Soskos, and Molykos, and pressed 
forward to relieve Prilapos, which the Greeks had 
invested. The best troops in the army of John Paleo- 
logos consisted of light cavalry from the Turkish 
tribes at the mouth of the Danube, and from the 
nomade hordes in Asia Minor. This cavalry was sup- 
ported by a body of the famous archers of Bithynia^ 
and both were under the command of experienced 
officers, trained under the firm discipline of the Empe- 
rors John III. and Theodore 11. This force retired 
before the Despot Michael in perfect order, cutting off 
the foraging parties, and harassing the advance of the 
Latin heavy-armed cavalry, until an opportunity pre- 
sented itself of attacking the main body of the Epirot 

422 EMPIRE 07 mCMA. 

BOOK IT. army in the plain of Pelagonia. The attack was said 
^''*' ' to have been favoured by secret communications with 
John Dukas, the natural son of the Despot Michael, 
who, in right of his wife, was Prince of the Vallachians 
of Thessaly. John Dukas is said to have been grossly 
insulted by some French knights. It is certain that, 
whether there was treachery or not, the Epirot army 
was completely defeated, and William, prince of Achaia^ 
with many Latin nobles^ was taken prisoner.^ John 
Paleologos, with one division of the victorious army, 
advanced into Greece and plundered Livadea ; the 
other, under Alexius Strategopoulos^ took Joannina and 
Arta, and delivered Acropolita. 

The Despot of Epirus fled to Leucadia, where he 
assembled new forces. The imperial generals hastened 
to pass the winter at the court of Michael VIIL, in 
order to secure their portion of the rewards which 
were there distributed with a lavish hand. In the 
following year (1260) Alexis Strategopoulos, who re- 
mained in Epirus to conduct the war, was defeated 
and taken prisoner at Tricorythos by Nicephorus, the 
eldest son of the Despot Michael The best part of 
the Bithynian archers perished iu this battle ; but 
Strategopoulos was fortunate enough to be soon 
released from captivity, and he was immediately 
intrusted with the command of the army in Thrace, 
where accident gave him the glory of being -the con- 
queror of Constantinople.^ The war continued in 

^ The chronicle of the conquest of the Morea mentions the place where the 
battle was fought, and it is confirmed by Acropolita. — French text, p. 134; 
Greek, verse 2627 ; Acropolita, 94. The passagee which fix the date of iiua 
battle confirm the chronology adopted in this volume, and prove that Michael 
VIIL was proclaimed emperor on the Ist January 1259 ; for he was already 
emperor when he sent his brother to command against the Despot of Epirus. 
— Acropolita, 98. The battle took place in autumn, two years before the taking 
of Constantinople. Compare Gregoras, 43, and Pachymeres, L 51. That the 
battle occurred in 1259 is also confirmed by the observations of the Duke de 
Luynes. — Buchon, Beeherekes et MatSriaux, 175. 

' Alexis Strategopoulos was twice taken prisoner in Epirus — first at Tricory- 
thos, and subsequently after the taking of Constantinople, when he was con- 


Epirus, sustained by the national aversion of the a.d. 
Albanians and Vallachians to the imperial govern- ^^ ^^^^ ^' 
ment, but without being productive of any important 

The successful campaign of 1259, and the captivity 
of the Prince of Achaia, deprived the Latin empire of 
its most useful allies. Michael VIII. resolved to avail 
himself of the moment to make an attempt for the 
reconquest of Constantinople. The Emperor Baldwin 
11. was too weak to defend his capital, if left to his 
own resources ; and the Venetians no longer possessed 
that command of the sea which insured their being 
able to introduce succours into the place during a 
siege, for the republics of Venice and Grenoa were then 
engaged in a war remarkable for the fierce animosity 
of the combatants, and distinguished by a succession 
of well-contested and bloody naval battles. The Em- 
peror Michael, in the year 1260, took the coxnmand of 
the Greek army in Thrace, and, after storming Selym- 
bria, advanced to the walls of Constantinople. As he 
advanced without a sufficiency of military stores for 
forming a permanent camp, and without engines for 
commencing a regular siege, there seems no doubt 
that he coimted on aid from secret ficiends within the 
walls. The traitor was said to be a French noble 
named Anseau ; but he proved apparently unable or 
unwilUng to complete his treason ; and Michael, after 
waiting in vain for the concerted aid, made several 
attempts to carry the suburb of Galata by stomL^ 
These attacks being repulsed, he concluded a truce for 
a year with the Emperor Baldwin. 

Michael determined to renew his attack on Con- 
stantinople as soon as the truce expired. He felt that 

signed to Manft^d, king of Sicily, who exchanged him for his sister Anne, the 
widow of the Emperor John III. — Paohjmeres, i 58. 

^ Ducange is not sure whether the supposed traitor was Anseau de Cahieu 
or Anseau de Pouqy.— jffi«<. de dnutatOinipUf 152. 


BOOK IT. the conquest of the imperial city could alone throw a 
^"' '• * * • veil over his usurpation ; and that, as the restorer of 
the Byzantine empire, he might pretend a new claim 
to the homage of the Greeks. In the spring of 1261 
he signed a treaty with the republic of Genoa, by 
which he granted the Genoese various conmiercial 
privileges, and renewed all the concessions made to 
them by the Emperor Manuel.^ Both parties bound 
themselves to carry on war with Venice, and not to 
conclude either truce or peace, unless by mutual con- 
sent. The emperor, in the event of his conquering 
Constantinople, promised to put the Genoese in pos- 
session of the palace, castle, church, and domain, held 
by the Venetians ; and the Genoese promised to fur- 
nish the emperor with a fleet to aid his conquest.* 
By this treaty the convention — concluded under the 
auspices of Pope Gregory IX. in 1238, binding the 
repubUcs of Genoa and Venice not to ally themselves 
with the Greek emperor, except by mutual consent — 
was annulled, and the foundation was laid of the great 
commercial ascendancy which the Genoese acquired in 
the Black Sea.^ 

While the Emperor Michael was waiting for the 
expiry of the truce and the arrival of the Genoese fleet, 
he sent Alexis Strategopoulos, who had just returned 
from his captivity in Epirus, to take the command of 
the troops in Thrace, ordering him to collect a force on 
the Latin frontier, and enter their territory as soon as 
the truce expired, in order that no time might be lost 
in forming tibe siege of Constantinople on the arrival of 

^ See page 189 of this Tolume, note 8. 

' This treaty is dated at NymphsBum, 13th March, and was ratified at Qenoa 
on the 10th July 1261. It is given in Latin by Ducange, Bist, de Coiuiantinaple, 
Becueil det Charte$, p. 9 ; and in French by Buchon, RethercfuM et MtUiriaux, 
p. 462. 

' The alliance of the Genoese with the Greeks brought them into yery bad 
repute with the popes and the French, who excited public opinion against 
them as half heretics. The prejudice is perpetuated in Italian proverbs. 


the Genoese fleet, when Michael proposed assuming the a. d. 
command of his army in person.^ 12 54-1261 . 

The Latin seigneurs had found their property, even 
in the immediate vicinity of Constantinople, so insecure, 
that they had sold it to the Greek cultivators of the 
solL The Greeks had also established themselves as 
farmers of the imperial possessions confiscated at the 
foundation of the Latin empire. They were thus the 
only inhabitants of the district protected by the vicinity 
of Constantinople from the ravages of the Greek and 
Bulgarian armies ; and their position had enabled them, 
during the increasing weakness of the Latin govern- 
ment, to acquire a certain independence in their com- 
munal organisation. In a feudal empire, they lived 
exempt from feudal ties ; and in order to defend their 
property, they formed themselves into an armed militia, 
called Voluntaries, which pretended to maintain a kind 
of neutraUty in the war between the Latins and the 
Greeks. Strategopoulos opened communications with 
the chiefs of the voluntaries, whose national feelings 
induced them to favour the Greek cause, and he found 
them willing to aid in gaining immediate possession of 
Constantinople. Their daily communications with the 
city enabled them to give hini accurate information of 
aU that passed among the Latins. 

As soon as the truce expired, Strategopoulos led the 
troops under his command into the neighbourhood of 
Constantinople; but the Latins took no immediate pre- 
cautions for defence, knowing that the force under his 
command was inadequate to besiege the city. Elated 
by their successful resistance during the preceding year, 
and by the arrival of Marc Gradenigo, a new Venetian 

1 A Genoese fleet, consistmg of ten galleys and six laige ships, was despatched 
to aid in the siege of Constantinople immediately after the ratification of the 
treaty, but arrived after the Greeiks were in possession of the city. The em- 
peror engaged by this treaty to put the Genoese in possession of the city and 
port of Smyrna, and to close the Black Sea against all flags of the Western 
nations, except those of Genoa and Pisa. 


BOOK IV. podestat, with a few galleys, they determined to mark 
CILMI8. ^^^ expiry of the trace by striking the first blow ; and 
their object was to recover possession of Daphnusia or 
Sozopolis on the Black Sea.^ Marc Gradenigo was 
anxious to secure a port of refuge for the Venetian 
vessels when pursued by the Genoese, and cut off by 
adverse winds from entering the Bosphorus. He per- 
suaded the Emperor Baldwin to allow him to embark 
the best part of the garrison in the fleet, which con- 
sisted of thirty galleys and a Sicilian gaUeon of great 
size ; so that the force embarked may have exceeded 
six thousand men. The moment was now considered 
favourable for executing the plan which had been formed 
by the Greeks for surprising Constantinople. A leader 
of the voluntaries, named Koutritzakes, had secured the 
assistance of some Greeks within the walls ; Strate- 
gopoulos gradually brought his army close to the city, 
and everything was prepared for the execution of the 
enterprise. As soon as it was midnight, Strategopordos 
and Koutritzakes, with a chosen body of soldiers, ap- 
proached the walls at a spot concerted with their friends 
in the city. The scaling-ladders were planted, and the 
enemy entered Constantinople without opposition. The 
guard at the Gate of the Fountain was surprised, and the 
gate, which had been built up for greater security, was 
broken open before any alarm could be given. The 
imperial troops then marched into the city, and took 
possession of the land walL In this position things 
remained until the dawn of day enabled the Greek 
general to advance. The troops who attempted to 
dispute his passage to the imperial palace were defeated ; 
and the Emperor Baldwin, finding that the enemy was 

^ Acropolita, 99, with the note of Leo Allatius ; Fiftchymeres, i. 90 ; Nice- 
phonis Gregoras, 49. The ancient ApoUonia waa also in great part on an 
island; and Daphnusia appears, strictly speaking, to have been the name given 
to the island of St John. Compare Strabo. 


rapidly approaching, instead of seizing some post near a. d. 
the port, which he could have defended until the expe- ^ ^^^^ ^' 
dition returned from Daphnusia^ basely abandoned his 
empire, embarked in a vessel at anchor in the port, 
and fled to Euboea. His crown, sceptre, and sword, all 
equally useless to such a mean-spirited coward, were 
found by the Greek soldiers who entered his deserted 
palace, and carried in triumph through the streets. 

The Frank and Venetian inhabitants were numerous 
and brave. They soon formed a force capable of de- 
fending that portion of the city in which their ware- 
houses were situated, and of preserving the command 
of the port. Strategopoulos saw their preparations for 
defence with some anxiety, for the sudden return of the 
fleet from Daphnusia might have exposed him to be 
driven from his conquest, or have entailed on him the 
necessity of destroying the city. By the advice of a 
Greek, named Phylax, who had served in the household 
of Baldwin, he now set fire to the houses in the Frank 
and Venetian quarters, leaving their communications 
with their ships unmolested. By this manoeuvre they 
were compelled to turn aU their attention to embarking 
their wives and children, with their jewels and money, 
leaving the Greeks to occupy the whole line of the 
fortifications, and secure every post of strength. 

When the news that the Greeks had entered Con- 
stantinople reached the troops at Daphnusia, they re- 
turned with aU speed to the capital ; but they found 
the ramparts manned by the Greek army, with the 
exception of a small portion towards the port, which 
was separated from the city by a mass of burning 
houses or impassable ruins. Only a small part of the 
Latin families had embarked, so that both sides were 
ready to conclude a truce. Under the guarantee of this 
cessation of hostilities, the Latins carried their famihes 


BOOK iv. and much of their wealth on board the ships in the 
Ciijuis. p^^ . -^^^ ^^ crowd was so great that, before they 
could reach Euboea or the islands in the Archipelago, 
many perished from want of food and water,^ 

^ CoDBtantiDople was taken by the Greeks on the 25th July 1261, after the 
Latins had possessed it fifty-seven years, three months, and eleven days. Com- 
pare Acropolita, 100; Pachymeres, i. 95; Nicephorus Qi-egoraa, 50; and 
Boivin's Notes, Phrantzes, p. 19, ed. Bonn. These authors disagree strangely 
in their chronology; but it is not difficult to correct their discrepancies. 



BECrr. I.-~MICHAEL VIII., A.D. 1261-1282. 

Michael's entry into Constantinople— Decune or Constantinople 
—Administration of Michael YIIL— Establishment of the Genoese 
IN the Greek empire — Treaties with Venice — Deposition of John 
IV. — Excommunication of Michael — Popular discontent— Decline 
of the Greek population — First appearance of the Othoman Turks 
— Re-estabushment of Greek influence in the Peloponnesus — 
Treaty of Viterbo— War in Thessaly — Treaty of Orvietto — Af- 
fairs OF Bulgaria — State of the Greek church — Union of the 
Greek and Latin churches— Death of Michael VIIL 

The conquest of Constantinople restored the Greeks 
to a dominant position in the East ; but the national 
character of the people, the political constitution of the 
imperial government, and the ecclesiastical hierarchy of 
the orthodox church, were aU equally destitute of the 
enlightened theory and energetic practice necessary for 
advancing in a career of improvement. The Greek 
nation made no use of this favourable crisis in its his- 
tory foi? developing its material resources, augmenting 
ita moral influence, and increasing its wealth and popu- 
lation. The first idea of the emperor, of the people, of 
the government, and of the clergy, was to constitute 
the new Greek empire of Constantinople on the old 
standard of that Koman legislation and political ortho- 


BOOK IV. doxy which had perished when the Crusaders destroyed 
CM^ji^i. ^j^^ Byzantine empire. This vain attempt to inspire 
dead forms with life, impressed on the Greek empire of 
Constantinople the marks of premature decrepitude. 
The Emperor Michael, the imperial court, the orthodox 
church, and the Greek nation, suddenly assume the 
characteristics of a torpid and stubborn old age ; and 
the history of the empire takes the monotonous type 
which it retained for nearly two centuries, until the 
Othoman Turks put an end to its existence. There is 
little interest, but there is much instruction, in the 
records of this torpid society, which, while it was visibly 
declining to the eyes of others, boasted that its wisdom 
and experience had brought its political government, 
its civil laws, and its ecclesiastical dogmas, to a state of 
perfection. Conservatism is constantly deluding the 
minds of political philosophers with the hope of giv- 
ing a permanent duration to some cherished virtue in 
society. It becomes frequently a disease of statesmen 
in long-established despotisms. The condition of man- 
kind in China and Hindostan has been influenced for 
many centuries by this delusion of the human mind ; 
and in the first page of this work it was observed that 
the institutions of imperial Borne displayed the same 
tendency to fix society in immutable forms and classes 
by legislative enactments. The same idea now per- 
vaded not only the government and the church of the 
Greek empire, but was also transfused into the national 
mind. History offers no other example of a people 
possessing a rich and noble literature, imbued with 
sentiments of liberty and truth, turning a deaf ear to 
the voice of reason, sacrificing all independence of 
thought, and all desire of improvement, to the main- 
tenance of national pride. The causes of this strange 
phenomenon appear to have been partly religious 
bigotry, and partly a wish to maintain political union 


amonff the Greek race. The Greeks hated the Catho- a. d. 

. . • . ■ 1261-1282 

lies with a fervour which obscured their intellectual " ' 
vision ; and they were justly alarmed at the danger 
which their nation incurred, both from its geographical 
location and from the power of its enemies, of being 
broken up into a number of dependent and insignificant 
states. The opinion that this evil could be averted by 
the principle of conservatism was generally embraced ; 
and every existing relic of a state of things which had 
long passed away was carefully preserved. The Greeks 
gloried in the name of Komans ; they clung to the forms 
of the imperial government without its military power ; 
they retained the Koman code without the systematic 
administration of justice, and prided themselves on 
the orthodoxy of a church in which the clergy were 
deprived of all ecclesiastical independence, and lived 
in a state of vassalage to the imperial court. Such 
a society could only wither, though it might wither 

On the other hand, it may perhaps be doubtful whether 
the state of society would have enabled the Greek nation 
to revive its national energy, and secure to itself a 
dominant position in the East, by reforming its central 
administration according to the actual exigencies of the 
present, instead of modelling it on theories of the past. 
The progress of the people required that the system of 
mimicipal institutions should be ameliorated and ex- 
tended, in order to avert the tendency of local interests 
to produce political separation. But, above all things, 
it was necessary that the Greeks should voluntarily 
concede to their own countrymen that religious liberty 
which the Genoese and the Turks were compelled, by 
the force of circumstances, to grant to strangers, and 
aUow the Greek Cathohcs to worship according to their 
own forms, and to build churches for themselves. To 
increase the national wealth, it was necessary that com- 


BOOK IV. mercial freedom should be secured to native merchants, 
CH^n^i. ^^^ ^j^^^ ^j^^ imperial government and tha city of Con- 
stantinople should be deprived of the power of selling 
monopolies, or granting exclusive privileges of trade to 
the Italian republics, in order to purchase political and 
mihtary assistance. To do all this would have been 
extremely difficult, for many interests and prejudices 
would have opposed the necessary reforms. 

Michael Paleologos was encamped at Meteorion with 
the troops he had assembled to form the siege of Constan- 
tinople, when a report reached him in the dead of night 
that the city was taken. At daybreak a courier arrived 
from Strategopoulos, bringing the ensigns of the imperial 
dignity, which Baldwin had abandoned in his precipi- 
tate retreat.^ Michael now felt that he was really 
emperor of the Greeks, and he marched to take pos- 
session of the ancient capital of the Christian world 
with no ordinary hopes ; but Byzantine formalism and 
Greek vanity required so much preparation for every 
court ceremony that the emperor's entrance into Con- 
stantinople did not take place until the 15th of August. 
The Archbishop of Cyzicus, bearing one of the pictures 
of the Virgin said to have been painted by St Luke, 
of which the orthodox pretend to possess several ori- 
ginals, passed first through the Golden Gate. The 
emperor followed, clad in a simple dress, and followed 
by a long procession on foot. After visiting the monas- 
tery of Studium, the train proceeded to the palace of 
Bukoleon, for that of Blachem had been left by the 
Franks in such a state of filth and dilapidation as to 
be scarcely habitable. At the great palace the emperor 
moimted his horse and rode in the usual state to the 
Church of St Sophia, to perform his devotions in that 
venerated temple of the Greeks. Alexis Strategopoulos 

^ Acropolita^ 101, says that Michael VIII. had marched as fi&r as Achyraos 
before he received the regalia of Baldwin. 


was subsequently pennitted to make a triumphal pro- a. d. 

cession through the city, like a Eoman conqueror of _J ' 

old ; and Michael determined to repeat the ceremony 
of his own coronation in the capital of what was still 
called the Roman Empire, at the central shrine of ortho- 
dox piety. The Patriarch Arsenics had been removed 
from office for opposing his usurpation* His successor 
soon died, and he was now replaced at the head of the 
church,for his deposition was generallyregarded as illegal, 
and Michael VIII. feared to commence his reign in Con- 
stantinople by creating a schism in the Greek churcL 
The well-intentioned but weak-minded Arsenics was 
persuaded to repeat the ceremony of Michaels coro- 
nation in the Church of St Soplua, while the lawful 
emperor, John IV., was left forgotten and neglected at 

Constantinople had. fallen greatly in wealth and 
splendour under the feudal government of the Latins ; 
and it was not destined to recover its former popula- 
tion and rank as the empress of Christian cities under 
the sway of the family of Paleologos. The capital of 
the Greek empire was a very diflferent city from the 
capital of the Byzantine empire. The Crusaders and 
Venetians had destroyed as weU as plundered the ancient 
Constantinople ; and the Greek city of the Paleologoi 
declined so much that it could hardly bear comparison 
with Genoa and Venice.^ Before its conquest by the 
Crusaders, Constantinople had astonished strangers by 
the splendour of its numerous palaces, monasteries, 
churches, and hospitals, which had been constructed 

^ Ducange, ffist. de ComtantlnopU, 161. See the description which Nioe> 
phoniB Qregoras gives of the destraotion of buildings caused by selling marble 
and arohiteotaral ornaments to the Genoese. lAvre xxxyiL, TestU Ore com- 
pUt, dfmni pcwr lajpremUrt faU, tr<ulueU(m Fran^au ; Nate$ phUologiquet 
et kutoriques, par V. Farisot : Paris, 1861, page 28. Phrantzes describes Venice, 
on the authority of the Despot Demetrios Paleologos, as a richly adorned city, 
and a second lamd of promise^ of which the Psalmist must have spoken in the 
words, "The Lord hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the 
floods."— Page 185, ed. Bodu. 

VOL. II. 2 E 


BOOK IT. and adorned during; nine centuries of inviolable supre- 
' macy. But now, on regaining its liberty, instead of 
displajring at every step proofs that it concentrated 
within its walls the wealth of many provinces — ^instead 
of containing the richest commercial port and the most 
industrious population on the globe — ^it was everywhere 
encumbered with the rubbish of repeated conflagrations, 
disfigured by dilapidated palaces, abandoned monas- 
teries, and ruined churches, and inhabited by a dimin- 
ished, idle, and impoverished people. The blackened 
ashes of the last fire, by which the Greeks had expelled 
the Venetians, had not yet been washed from the walls 
by a winter's rain. In all directions the squares and 
porticoes, which had once been the ornaments of the 
city, were encumbered with filth ; for the Franks were 
ignorant of the police regulations which the Byzantine 
government had inherited from the earlier Boman em- 
perors, and which it had not allowed to remain entirely 
without improvement. The state of the city attested 
the barbarism of the Western nobles, and the insuffici- 
ency of the feudal organisation to direct the complicated 
machine of civil administration in accordance with the 
exigencies of a civilised and motley population.^ 

Michael VIII. was eager to efface the marks of foreign 
domination from the capital of the empire, and to repair 
the injuries of time ; but his plans were injudicious, 
and his success extremely limited. He aspired to be 
the second founder of the city of Constantinople, as 
well as of the Eastern Boman Empire. The nobility of 
his dominions were invited to inhabit the capital by the 
gift of places and pensions ; traders were attracted by 
monopohes and privileges. The wealth that ought to 

^ We le&rn from Nicetas, 118, that the population of Constantinople was of 
a very mixed nature. Indeed, from the time of Constantino the Great to the 
present hour, it never appears to have been so decidedly a Greek city, nor to 
have contained so large a minority of Greek inhabitants, as it did xmder the 
dynasty of Paleologos. 


have been expended in restoring communications be- a. d. 
tween the dispersed and dissevered portions of the ' ^^"^^^ ' 
Greek nation, in repairing roads and bridges, was 
wasted in building palaces and adorning churches in 
the capital, where they were no longer required for a 
diminished and impoverished population. Crowds of 
imperial princes and princesses. Despots and Caesars, 
officers of state and courtiers, consumed the revenues 
which ought to have covered the fix)ntier with impreg- 
nable fortresses, and maintained a disciplined standing 
army and a well-exercised fleet. Yet, while lavishing 
the public revenues to gratify his pride and acquire 
popularity, he sacrificed the general interests of the 
middle classes to a selfish and rapacious fiscal policy. 
All the property within the waUs of Constantinople, 
whether it belonged to Greeks or Latins, was adjudged 
to the imperial government by the right of conquest ; 
but their ancient possessions were restored to the great 
famihes whose power he feared, and to those individuals 
whose services he wished to secure. Sites for building 
were then leased to the citizens for a fixed rent ; yet 
the Greek government was so despotic, and Michael 
was so arbitrary in his administration, that twelve years 
later he pretended that the concessions he had granted to 
private individuals were merely acts of personal favour^ 
and he demanded the payment of the rent for the past 
twelve years, the collection of which he enforced with 
much severity.^ Michael used other frauds to bring 
the property of his subjects into the public treasury, or 
to deprive them of a portion of the money justly due 
to them by the state. Under the pretext of clumging 
the type of the gold coinage, and commemorating the 
recovery of Constantinople by impressing an image of 
its waUs on the byzants, he debased the standard of 

^ Pachymeree, L 101, 106, and 265. 


BOOK lY. the mint, and issued coins containing only fifteen parts 
"' of gold and nine of alloy .^ While on one hand he 
rendered property insecure and impoverished his sub- 
jects, he was striving by other arrangements to increase 
the Greek population of the capital, in order to counter- 
balance the wealth and influence of foreign traders. 
Numbers were drawn from the islands of the Archi- 
pelago, and a colony of Tzakonians or Lakonians from 
Monemvasia and the neighbouring districts was settled 
in the capital, which supplied the imperial fleet with its 
best sailors.* But war, not commerce, was the object 
of Michael's care ; and while he was endeavouring to 
increase the means of recruiting his army and navy, he 
allowed the Genoese to profit by his political errors, and 
render themselves masters of the commerce of the Black 
Sea^ and of great part of the canying trade of the Greek 
empire. In the mean time, the fortifications of Con- 
stantinople were repaired ; and when Charles of Anjou 
threatened* to invade the East, a second line of wall was 
added to the fortifications on the land side, and the 
defences already existing towards the sea were strength- 
ened.^ The port of Vlanka, anciently called the Theo- 
dosian port, was improved by the addition of two new 
moles, constructed with immense blocks of stone, and 
it was deep^ied with great art.* 

^ Fiichymeres, il 348. See page 398 of thie volume. The practice of de- 
frauding Bubjecta by fidaifying the coinage was common among aovereigns at 
thia period. Charlea of Anjou ordered hia debaaed carlini to be received as 
agoatali, aaaerting they were of the aame value ; but aa he doubted whether 
hia Bubjecta would put much faith in hia royal word, he ordered that the handa 
of those who paid and received his coin at a leaa value ahould be cut off, and 
that an impression of the coin ahould be burned on their fiioea with the red-hot 

* Pachymerea, i 209. 

* Pachymerea, i. 124, 248. ysMvftov t6 nixos t6 vp6t Sakamrap. tA y6p 
irp6s yrfv dcdiirXoi ro wavr^^s. The system of these double walls from the gate 
of Blachem to the Qolden Qate is atill visible. 

* Nioephorus Gregoras, 74. Pachymeres, i 249, saya the port was deepened 
by using quicksilver. As it is impossible to believe that thia was done by 
pouring in quicksilver to displace the mud, as the translatore seem to suppose, 
the question arises, how the Byzantine engineers applied the weight of quick- 
silver to their dredging operations. 


But it was no longer in the power of Michael, nor in f. d. 

the spirit of Greek society, to restore the vigour of the _I 

Roman legal administration, which had long been the 
bulwark of Byzantine society. Foreign conquest and 
internal revolutions had broken up the central govern- 
ment. Provincial dislocation and individual indepen- 
dence had in many districts proceeded so far that 
imperial fiscality was more feared than imperial pro- 
tection was sought. The Greeks of Trebizond and 
Epirus, and even of Naxos, Athens, and Achaia^ enjoyed 
as great a degree of prosperity, and as much security 
of property, under their local usages or foreign laws, as 
the Greeks of Constantinople, who pretended to pre- 
serve the judicial system of Rome and the code of the 

Michael VIII. fulfilled all the stipulations of the 
treaty he had concluded with the Genoese. The public 
property of the republic of Venice was confiscated, and 
the Genoese were put in possession of the palace pre- 
viously occupied by the BaiUy of the Venetians. This 
building was immediately pulled down, and the marble 
of which it was composed was transported to G^noa, in 
order to be employed in the construction of the Church 
of St George, where it formed a lasting memorial of this 
triumph of the republic.^ In the mean time, the war 
between Venice and Genoa continued to rage with ex- 
treme violence, and in this contest Michael's interests 
were deeply involved. When he regained possession of 
Constantinople, he found that a considerable part of 
the trading population consisted of Venetians^ esta- 
blished in the East as permanent colonists. These 
traders readily transferred their allegiance firom the 
Latin to the Greek emperor ; and Michael, who knew 
the value of such subjects, granted them all legal pro- 

' Ducange, Hittoirc de CoMtanHncjile iout l€$ Empereun Fran^U, 161. 


BOOK IT. tection in the pursuit of their commercial occupations, 
cii^M^L ^ j^^ ^^ ^jg^ ^ ^^^ Pisans. But the Genoese, who 
had hastened to the East in great numbers in order 
to profit by the overthrow of the domination of the 
Crusaders and Venetians, considered that the emperor 
ought to expel every Venetian fix)m his dominions. 
The democratic state of the Genoese republic at this 
period ijicreased the insolence of iadividuals. The mer- 
chants who owned and the officers who commanded the 
Genoese galleys that visited the Greek empire, attacked 
the Venetians who had taken the oath of allegiance to 
the Emperor Michael, and plundered their property as 
if they were enemies. The neutrality of the Greek 
territory was violated, and the streets of the capital 
were often a scene of bloodshed by the contests of the 
hostile republicans. The turbulent conduct of his allies 
had already created dissatisfaction on the mind of 
Michael, when their defeat by the Venetians before 
Monemvasia, and the fall of Baccanegra, who had con- 
cluded the treaty of Nymphseum in 1261 by placing 
a party adverse to the Greek alliance in power, induced 
him to doubt the fidelity of their services, and he dis- 
missed sixty Genoese galleys which he had taken into 
his pay. Charles of Anjou soon after effected the 
conquest of the kingdom of Naples, and the Genoese 
government became more anxious to cultivate his 
friendship than that of the Greek emperor.^ 

The character and conduct of Michael VIII. typifies 
the spirit of Greek society from the recovery of Con-- 
stantinople to the fall of the empire. It displays a 
strange ignorance of the value of frankness and honesty 
in public business, a constant suspicion of every friend, 

^ VinoeDB, Histoire de Oine$, I 338 ; Sauli, Colonia di GalcUa, i. 72. 67 the 
treaty of 1261, the Genoese were exempt from serving against the Prince of 
Achaia, with whom the emperor was now again involved in war, and who was 
an ally of the Venetians. To judge the foreign policy of Genoa, we must 
study the histoiy of its domestic parties. 

TI^EATY WITH VENICE, A,D. 1265. 489 

restless intrigues to deceive every ally, and a wavering a. d. 
policy to conciliate every powerfiil enemy. The conse- ^ ^^'^^^ ' 
quence of this suspicion, plotting, and weakness, was, 
that very soon no one trusted either the emperor or the 
Greeks. The invasion of Italy by Charles of Anjou, 
and the pretensions of the Pope to dispose of crowns* 
alarmed both Venice and Michael, and induced them to 
forget all former grounds of hostility, and conclude a 
closer alliance than the Greek emperor had concluded 
with Genoa^ with which he now declared war.^ This 
treaty is dated in June 1265, about a month before 
Charles of Anjou received the crown of the Two Sicilies 
from the Pope in the Lateran. The stipulations are 
remarkable both in a political and commercial light. The 
emperor engaged to expel the Genoese from Constan- 
tinople, and not to conclude peace with them except in 
concert with the republic. The Venetians engaged to 
hire their galleys to the emperor to serve even against 
the Pope, the King of France, and Charles of Anjou, 
as well as against the republics of Genoa, Pisa, and 
Ancona, and any prince or community that might 
attack the Greek empire. It is worthy of observation 
that when the Genoese concluded their alliance with 
the Greeks, in 1261, they had so far yielded to the pub- 
lic opinion of the West as to insert a clause in the 
treaty exempting their galleys in the imperial pay from 
serving against the Pope, the Emperor of Germany, the 
kings of France, Castile, England, and Sicily, the Prince 
of Achaia* and several other kings and princes, and yet 
they had incurred excommunication.^ The Venetians 
now engaged to serve even against the Pope, and his 
vassal, Charles of Anjou ; but his Holiness did not 

1 This treaty of 1265, which throws a new light on the aflhin of the Greek 
empire at the time, was first published by Profeflsors Tafel and Thomas, in 
Trsmsactions of the Academy of Vienna, Oct. 1850. A Latin copy of the sub • 
sequent treaty of 1268 had been published by Marin, Storia del Commereio de* 
Venexiani, iy. 336. 

s Sauli, Colonia di Galata, i. 68, note 3. 


BOOK IV. venture to excommunicate Venice as lightly as he ex- 
cu^njii. commujiicated Genoa, its power on the continent of 
Italy was so much greater. The republic also bound 
itself to exact an oath from all Crusaders who embarked 
in Venetian transports, that they would not invade the 
dominions of Michael VIIL 

The articles of the treaty which relate to commerce 
prove that Roman prejudices and Byzantine pride still 
induced the diplomatists of Constantinople to view 
trade as a matter beneath the attention of monarcha 
The change already visible in European society, which 
began to place a larger share of wealth, knowledge, and 
power in the hands of traders, and which had rendered 
the merchant-nobles of Venice and the trading citizens 
of Lombardy a match for the chosen mercenaries of 
Constantinople and the German chivaby of the house 
of Hohenstauffen, escaped the notice of Michael and his 
counsellors. The emperor consequently n^lected the 
conmiercial interests of the Greeks ; and while he made 
great concessions to foreigners, he only stipulated that 
his own subjects should have free intercourse with 
Venice on paying the usual duties, and that they might 
import and export whatever merchandise they pleased.^ 
On the other hand, the Venetians obtained a long series 
of concessions in their favour, and as these concessions 
formed the basis of all the commercial treaties con- 
cluded by the emperors of Constantinople imtil the 
Turkish conquest, and exercised some influence in 
diminishing the trade of the Greeks and weakening 
the empire, it is important to notice their extent. The 
Venetians were exempted from the ordinary control of 
the revenue officers, and allowed to carry on their com- 
merce under especial privileges, for which, as well as to 
guard against frauds on the imperial revenue, a separate 

^ Compare the treaty of 1265, Tafel and Thomas, 182^ with the treaty of 
1268. Marin, It. 845. 


quarter or a single warehouse, as the exigency might a. d. 

require, was granted to them, according to the extent 
of their trade, in most of the principal ports in his 
dominions. Within these factories the Venetians were 
governed by the laws of Venice and their own magis- 
trates. They had full liberty to transport their goods 
by land as well as by sea to any part of the Greek 
empire without paying any duty, being only required 
to furnish the imperial collectors of customs with exact 
statements of the amount, in order that the duty might 
be levied from the purchaser. They were also allowed 
to export grain from the empire until the price at Con- 
stantinople rose to fifty byzants for one hundred mea- 
sures.^ They had, of course, the right to erect Catholic 
churches within the precincts of their factories. 

The close pohtical alliance which this treaty esta- 
blished between the empire and the republic was not of 
long duration. The intrigues of Charles of Anjou in 
Tuscany, where he arrayed Florence and Lucca against 
Sienna and Pisa, affected the interests of Genoa, and 
enabled the opposition to gain strength, while the vic- 
tories of the Venetians, and the overtures of peace which 
were made to them by Pope Clement IV., appear to 
have awakened some distrust of his new allies in the 
suspicioTis mind of Michael VIII. These circumstances 
induced the emperor and the republic to conclude a new 
treaty in 1268, which modified the offensive and defen- 
sive stipulations of the earlier treaty with regard to 
G^noa, the island of Eubcea, the principality of Achaia^ 
and the duchy of the Archipelago. ^ In the year 1270, 
a change in the government of G^noa placed the admi- 
nistration in the hands of the families of Doria and 

^ The modioe and medimnoe of Constantinople appear to have been the same 
measure ; a pinakion was a quarter of both. See Ducange, Qloisarium med, 
et ihfim. GrceoikUU, in voce llufdtaoif. See page 48, note. 

* The Latin copy of this treaty is given by Marin, Storia del Commfrcio de* 
Veneziani, iv. 336. 



BOOK IT. Spinola, who were opposed to Chaxles of Anjou, and a 
^"'^^ truce was subsequently concluded by the Genoese both 
with the Byzantine empire and with Venice, while the 
Greeks and Venetians became engaged in war. Hosti- 
lities were nevertheless renewed, until at length, in the 
year 1275, the Emperor Michael formed a new alliance 
with the Genoese ; but, in order to prevent their making 
the streets of Constantinople again the scene of their 
disorders, he obliged them to establish their factory at 
Heracleia, on the Propontis.^ Some years later, they 
were allowed to transfer their settlement to Galata, 
where they laid the foundation of a colony which soon 
deprived the Greeks of the greater part of their trade 
in the Black Sea.^ 

The morbid ambition of Michael Paleologos was not 
satisfied until he was sole emperor. In defiance, there- 
fore, of the repeated oaths by which he had sworn to 
respect the rights of his ward, his colleague and his 
sovereign, he availed himself of the first favourable mo- 
ment to dethrone the unfortunate boy, who had been 
left neglected at Nicaea. On Christma&-day, 1261, the 
agents of Michael deprived John IV. of his sight, though 
he had not attained the age of ten, and he was declared 
to have forfeited the throne. The cruel and perjured 
emperor then ordered him to be immured in the fort of 
Dakybiza, where he remained neglected, and almost 
forgotten, for eight-and-twenty years, when his soUtude 
was broken in upon by Andronicus, the bigoted son of 
the hypocritical Michael. The conscience of the bigot 
was uneasy on account of his father's crimes, of which 

1 Sauli, Colonia di Oalata, ii. 204. P&chymeres, i. 108. 

' Nioephorus Gregoras, 57, says that Michael established the Qenoeae at 
Galata Wnen he retook Constantinople ; but no record fixes tlie precise year 
from which the foundation of the colony of Galata should be dated. See also 
an interesting account of the manner in which the Grenoese carried on trade 
and war in the empire, and of the concession of the monopoly of alum and the 
mines of Phocasa to a Genoese noble, Zacharia, in Pachymeres, 1. 284. Nioe- 
phorus Gregoras, 81. It is very difficult to fix the precise chronology of the 


he was enjoying the fruit ; so by a few kind words he a. d. 
easily induced his imprisoned victim to make what was ^^^^' 
falsely termed a voluntary cession of all his rights to 
thQ imperial crown. ^ The evil consequences of this 
crime were deeply felt in the empire ; for the clergy, 
the nobility, and the people, had aU participated in the 
system of corruption and peculation by which Michael 
VIII. had smoothed the way for his usurpation. The 
violation of every sentiment of honour, patriotism, and 
virtue, was so iniquitous, that the public character of 
the Greek nation was degraded by its obsequiousness 
on this occasion ; and the feelings of the people in the 
provinces of the east, as well as in western Europe,, 
avenged the misfortunes of John. Michael Paleologos 
had hitherto been regarded as a bold, frank, and gene< 
rous prince ; he henceforward showed himself a timid, 
hypocritical, and cruel tyrant. 

The Patriarch Arsenios, who was one of the guardians 
of the dethroned emperor, considered himself bound to 
protest against the injustice and perjury of Michael. 
He convoked an assembly of the prelates resident in 
Constantinople, and proposed that the reigning emperor 
should be excommunicated by the synod ; but too many 
of the clergy had been participators in the intrigues of 
Michael, and were enjoying the rewards of their sub- 
serviency, for such a measiire to meet with any support. 
Arsenios, therefore, on his own authority as Patriarch, 
interdicted Michael from all religious rites ; but he did 
not venture to pronounce the usual form of words, 
which deprived him of the prayers of the orthodox. 
The Greek church, under the Paleologoi, was tainted 
with the same spirit of half-measures and base tergiver- 
sation which marks the imperial administration. The 
emperor accepted the modified censure of the church as 

1 Pachymerea, iL 64. 


BOOK IT. just, and hypocritically requested that his penance 
" "' * might be assigned. By obtaining his dispensation in 
this manner, he expected that public opinion would 
render the church an accessary after the fact, while he 
secured to himself an additional guarantee for the enjoy- 
ment of the fruits of his crime. Confident in his power, 
he punished with cruelty all who ventured to express 
publicly their compassion for their dethroned emperor.* 
Though the family of Yatatzes had been unpopular 
among the nobility, it was beloved by the Asiatic 
Greeks, and especially by the mountaineers of Bithynia. 
The people in the vicinity of Nicaea took up arms to 
avenge John lY., and their insurrection was suppressed 
with great diflBculty. A blind boy, who was found 
wandering in the neighbourhood, was supposed to be 
their legitimate sovereign, the victim of Michaers 
treachery. The warlike peasantry flew to arms, and 
rendered themselves masters of the forts and mountain 
passes. The advance of the imperial troops sent to 
suppress the revolt was impeded by those famous 
archers who had previously formed one of the most 
effiective bodies in the emperor's army. Every ravine 
was contested, and every advantage dearly purchased. 
The imperial troops at last subdued the country by 
adopting the policy by which the Turks extended their 
conquests. The habitations were destroyed, and the 
forests were burned down, so that the native population 
had no means of obtaining subsistence, while the soldiers 
of Michael became masters of the coimtry, under the 
cover of their widespread conflagrations.^ The pro- 
vince was pacified by gaining over the chiefe, pardoning 

1 Haloboulos, who had been one of the oompMiionB of John TV^ had his 
noee and lips out off. Five years after, he was taken firom the monastery in 
which he was confined, and placed at the head of a college founded by the 
Emperor Michael— Pachymeres, L 128. Alexios Makrinos, one of the best 
generals in the empire, was deprived of sight, because he was suspected of a 
design to marry a sister of John IV.— Pachymeres, L 189. 

' Pachymeres, i. 1 29. 


the people, and proving that John IV. was a prisoner a. ». 
in Dakybiza. The poor blind boy was then conveyed ^^^[^^^ 
into the Turkish territory, and no cause of war existed. 
Many of the mountaineers, whose property was de- 
stroyed, still resisted, and, when taken, they were treated 
with the greatest cruelty. The municipal organisation 
and the privileges of the mountaineers of Bithynia were 
abolished, and mercenary troops were quartered on the 
inhabitants. The resources of this flourishing province 
were ruined, and its population was so diminished that, 
when the Othoman Turks attacked the empire, the re- 
nowned archers of Bithynia and the mountain militia 
had ceased to exist. ^ 

The change which is visible in the condition of the 
Asiatic provinces of the empire towards the end of the 
reign of Michael VIII. must be attentively observed. 
When he mounted the throne, the power of the Seljouk 
empire was so broken by the conquests of the Moguls, 
and the energy of the Greek population was so great, 
in consequence of the wise government of John III. 
and Theodore II., that the Greeks under the Turkish 
dominion seemed on the eve of regaining their inde- 
pendence. Azeddin Kaikous IL, sultan of Iconium, was 
an exile; his brother Bokneddin ruled only a small 
part of the Seljouk empire of Boum ; for Houlagon, the 
brother of the great khans Mangou and Kublai, pos- 
sessed the greater part of Asia Minor, and many Turk- 
ish tribes lived in a state of independence. The cruelty 
and rapacity of Michael's government, and the venality 
and extortion which he tolerated among the imperial 
officers and administrators, arrested the progress of the 
Greek nation, and prepared the way for its rapid de- 
cline. The jealousy which Michael showed of all marks 
of national independence, and the fear he entertained of 
opposition, are strong characteristics of his poUcy. His 

^ Pliohymeres, L 129. 


BOOK IV. governors in Asia Minor were instructed to weaken the 
^ "' * ^ power of the local chiefs, while the fiscal officers were 
ordered to find pretexts for confiscating the estates of 
the wealthy. Indeed, all the proprietors of wealth in 
the mountain districts of Bithynia were deprived of 
their possessions, and pensioned by the grant of a sum 
of forty byzants to each, as an annual allowance for 
subsistence.^ Both rich and poor, finding that they 
were plundered with impunity, and that it was vain to 
seek redress from the emperor, often emigrated with 
the remains of their property into the Turkish terri- 
tories.2 So rapacious was the imperial treasury that 
the historian Pachymeres, though a courtier, believed 
that the Emperor Michael systematically weakened the 
power of the Greek population from his fear of rebel- 
lion.* The consequence was that the whole country 
beyond the Sangarius, and the mountains which give 
rise to the Rhyrdakos and Makestos, was occupied by 
the Turks, who were often invited by the inhabitants 
to take possession of the small towns. The communi- 
cations between Nicaea and Heracleia on the Euxine 
were interrupted by land ; and the cities of Kromna, 
Amastris, and Tios relapsed into the position of Greek 
colonies surrounded by a foreign population. Even 
the valley of the Maeander, one of the richest portions 
of the Greek empire, was invaded ; and unfortunately 
the great possessions of the monasteries and nobles in 
this fertile district placed it in a similar social condi- 
tion to that which had facilitated the ravages of the 
Normans in France under the Carlovingians, and in 
England under the Saxons. Immense wealth invited 
the invasions of the Turkish nomades, while the popu- 
lation consisted only of monks, or the agents of absent 

^ Pachymeres, i. 8, 145-149, 209-212, 322-324. 

' Pachymeres, i., pages 6 to 10. Ck>mpare the conduct of Justmliui II. to 
the Mardaites of Mount Lebanon — Oreeee utuUr the Bomantf 488. 
' Pachymeres, i. 148. 


proprietors, and unanned peasants. When John Paleo- a. d. 
logos, the emperor's brother, attempted to expel the ^ ^^"^^^ ' 
Turks from their conquests, he found them already so 
well fortified in the monasteries of Strobilos and Stra* 
diotrachia that he could not attempt to dislodge them, 
(a.d. 1266-1268). Perhaps the violent opposition of the 
monks to Michael's schemes for uniting the Greek and 
Latin churches may at last have rendered the emperor 
indifferent to the fate of the monasteries.^ 

As the reign of Michael VIII. advanced, the encroach- 
ments of the nomade Turks became more daring. John 
Paleologos, who had for some time restrained their in- 
cursions, was by his brother's jealousy deprived of all 
military command ; and Andronicus, the emperor's 
eldest son, was sent to the frontier as commander-in- 
chief. In the year 1280 the incapacity of the young 
prince threw all the imperial provinces open to inva- 
sion. Nestongos, who commanded in the city of Nyssa, 
was defeated and taken prisoner. Nyssa was taken, 
and the Turks then laid siege to Tralles, which had 
been recently rebuilt and repeopled. This city contained 
a population of thirty-six thousand inhabitants, but it 
was ill supplied both with provisions and water. Yet 
its inhabitants made a brave defence, and had Andro- 
nicus possessed either military talents, activity, or 
courage, Tralles might have been saved. The Turks 
at last formed a breach in the walls by sapping, and 
then carried the city by storm. The inhabitants who 
escaped the massacre were reduced to slavery.^ 

About the time Michael VIII. usurped his place on 
the throne of the Greek empire, a small Turkish tribe 
made its first appearance in the Seljouk empire. 0th- 

1 PachymereB, L 209-212. 

' Pachymeres, i. 822-324, says the iDhabitants of Tralles continued their 
defenoe by 11? ing on human flesh when all other proTisions were exhausted, 
and drinking horses' blood. This is the way pedants write history. Compare 
Nicephorus Gregoras, 84-87, and Phrantzes, 23, ed. Bonn. 


BOOK IT. man^ who gave his name to this new band of immi- 
cii^^L gj^mj^g^ ig gaid to have been born in the year 1258, and 
his feither Ertogrul entered the Seljouk empire as the 
chief of only four hundred fEunilies ; yet Orkhan the 
son of Othman laid the foundations of the institutions 
and power of the Othoman empire. No nation ever in- 
creased so rapidly from such small beginnings, and no 
government ever constituted itself with greater sagacity 
than the Othoman ; but no force or prudence could 
have enabled this small tribe of nomades to rise with 
such rapidity to power, had it not been that the Em- 
peror Michael and the Greek nation were paralysed by 
political and moral corruption, and both left behind 
them descendants equally weak and worthless. When 
lustory records that Michael Paleologos recovered pos- 
session of Constantinople by accident, it ought also to 
proclaim that, by his deliberate policy, he prepared the 
way for the ruin of the Greek race and the conquest 
of Constantinople by the Othoman Turks. There is 
no other instance in history of a nation so numerous^ 
so wealthy, and so civilised, as the Greeks were in the 
fourteenth century, having been permanently subdued 
by an enemy so inferior in political and nulitary re- 
sources. The circumstance becomes the more disgrace- 
fdl, as its explanation must be sought in social and 
moral causes. 

The rebellion of his subjects in Asia made Michael 
anxious to secure peace in Europe. In order to coun- 
terbalance the successes of the Despot of Epirus, and 
dispose him to conclude a treaty, Michael resolved to 
release the Prince of Achaia, who had been taken pri- 
soner at the battle of Pelagonia in 1259. William 
Villehardoin, prince of Achaia, was freed, by the destruc- 
tion of the Latin empire of Eomania, from those feudal 
ties which connected him with the throne of Baldwin II. 
To obtain his liberty, he consented to become a vassal of 



the Greek empire, and he re-established the imperial a. d. 
power in the Peloponnesus, by delivering up to Michael 
the fortresses of Monemvasia, Misithra, and Maina. 
On swearing fidelity to Michael VIII. he was released 
from captivity, after having remained a prisoner for 
three years/ The Pope, however, was so much alarmed 
at this example of a Catholic prince becoming a vassal 
of the Greek emperor, that as soon as the Prince of 
Achaia was firmly settled in his principality, his Holi- 
ness absolved him from all his oaths and obligations to 
the Greek emperor. Pope Urban IV. even went so far 
as to proclaim a crusade against Michael, and to invite 
St Louis to take the command; but the King of France, 
who was much more deeply imbued with the Christian 
spirit than the Pope, declined the office. The crusade 
ended in a partisan warfare between the Prince of 
Achaia and the governors Michael had placed in the 
fortresses of which he had gained possession in the 

The conquest of Naples by Charles of Anjou threat- 
ened the Greek empire with a new invasion. Under 
the auspices of Clement IV. a treaty was concluded 
between the dethroned emperor Baldwin, Charles of 
Anjou, and VS/^illiam, prince of Achaia, by which Baldwin 
ceded to Charles the suzerainty of Achaia, and the 
prince agreed to transfer his allegiance from the titu- 
lar Emperor to the King of Naples, who had already 
obtained the absolute sovereignty of Corfu, and of the 
cities of Epirus, given by the Despot Michael II. as 
dowry to his daughter, who married Manfred, king of 
Sicily. In return, Charles of Anjou engaged to fur- 
nish Baldwin with a force of two thousand knights and 
their followers, to enable him to invade the Greek 
empire. This treaty was concluded at Viterbo on the 

^ Litre dt la Conqueste de la PrincSe de la MoriCy par Buchon, p. 144. 
Greek text, v. 2996 and 3134.— Pachy meres, i. 52. 

VOL. II. 2 F 


BOOK IT. 27tli of May 1267.^ Its stipulationB alarmed Michael 
cji^i. paleologos, who had already involved himself in eccle- 
siastical quarrels with his subjects ; and in order to 
delay an attack on Constantinople, he sent an embassy 
to Pope Clement IV., proposing measures for eflfecting 
a union of the Greek and Latin churches. On this 
occasion Michael was relieved from fear by Conradin's 
invasion of the kingdom of Naples, which enabled him 
to conclude a truce with the Prince of Achaia. He 
then neglected his overtures to the Pope, and turned 
all his attention to fitting out a fleet, which he manned 
with Gasmouls, Tzakonians, and Greeks of the Archi- 
pelago.^ The insincere negotiations of Michael for a 
union with the Boman church were often renewed 
under the pressure of fear of invasion from abroad, and 
dread of insurrection at home. The weakness caused 
by the opposition of the Greek clergy and people to his 
authority, encouraged the enterprises of his foreign 
enemies, while the entangled web of his diplomacy, 
taking a new form at every change of his personal 
interests, at last involved him so inextricably in its 
meshes that he had no means of concealing his bad 
faith, cruelty, and hypocrisy. 

In the year 1271 the treachery of Andronikos Tar- 
chaniotes, the emperor's nephew, reanimated the war in 
Thessaly. Having invited the Tartars to' invade the 
empire from the north, he abandoned Mount Haemus^ 
of which he was governor, to their ravages, and fled to 
John Dukas, prince of Vlakia, his father-in-law, whom 
he persuaded to invade Thessaly. The emperor sent 
his brother, John Paleologos, with an army of forty 
thousand men and a fleet of sixty-three galleys, to 
re-establish the imperial supremacy. John Dukas was 

^ Buchon, Reckereket et Matiriaux, 80. 

> Pachymeres, i. 209. The Qasmouls were children of a Latin father and 
Qreek mother, and poaeessed the vigour of one patent, and the intelUgenoe of 
the other. 

WAE IN THESSALY, A.D. 1271. 451 

besieged in his capital, Neopatras, and the place was a. d. 
reduced to the last extremity, when the prince passed ^ ^^^"^^^ 
through the hostile camp in the disguise of a groom, to 
seek assistance from his Latin aUies. Leading a horse 
by the bridle he walked along, crying out that his 
master had lost another horse, and would reward the 
finder. When he reached the plain of the Sperchius he 
mounted his horse, and gained the territory of the 
Frank Marquess of Boudonitza.^ The Duke of Athens 
furnished him with a band of three hundred knights, 
and he returned to Neopatras with such celerity that he 
surprised the imperial camp, and completely dispersed 
the army. John Paleologos escaped to Demetriades 
(Volo), where his fleet was stationed. A squadron 
composed of Venetian ships, and galleys of the Duke of 
Naxos and of the Barons of Negropont, was watching 
the imperial fleet. On hearing of the total defeat of 
the army they attacked the admiral Alexios Philan- 
thropenos in the port, and were on the point of carry- 
ing the whole Greek fleet by boarding, when John 
Paleologos reached the scene of action with a part of 
the fugitive troops. He immediately conveyed a large 
body of soldiers to the ships, and reanimated the sailors. 
The Latins were compelled to retire with the loss of 
some of their own ships, but they succeeded in carry- 
ing off* several of the Greek galleys.^ 

In the following year the imperial fleet, under the 
command of Zacharia, the Genoese signeur of Thasos^ 
defeated the Franks near Oreos in Euboea, and took 
John de la Roche, duke of Athens, prisoner. But, on 
the other hand, John Dukas again routed the army in 

^ FachymercB, I 220. The Russian Chronicle of Neetor recounts a similar 
anecdote concerning a young man who passed through the camp of the Patei- 
naks, when they besieged Kieflf in 968.— CAronigiM de Neator, tiad. en Fran^ais 
par L. Paris, i. 91. 

> Pachymeres, i 225. The Duke of the Archipelago captured six galleys, and 
sent them to be refitted at his arsenal at Nazoe. — Hutoire Nouvelle da Ancient 
Duet de l*Arekipel, 88. 


BOOK IV. Thessaly, and by his activity and military skill rendered 
ciiMi^i. j^jjjj^gif ^Y^Q jjjQgt redoubted enemy of Michael ; so that, 

when the majority of the Greek population declared 
openly against the emperor's project for a union with 
the Latin church, the Prince of Yallachian Thessaly 
became the champion of the orthodox church, and 
assembled a synod which excommunicated Michael 
VIII. (A.D. 1277).* 

In the year 1278 Charles of Anjou would in all 
probability have besieged Constantinople, had he not 
been prevented by the express commands of his suze- 
rain. Pope Nicholas III., who was gained over by 
Michael's submission to expect the inmiediate union 
of the Greek with the Papal church. But the eleva- 
tion of Martin IV. to the See of Rome changed its 
policy. The Emperor Michael was excommunicated, 
and, to render the excommunication more insulting, he 
was reproached with persecuting the Greeks who con- 
sistently abstained from his own delusive compliances. 
Michael revenged himself by ceasing to pray for the 
Pope in the Eastern churches. A league was now 
formed between the Pope, the King of Naples, and the 
republic of Venice, for the conquest of the Greek 
empire, and a treaty was signed at Orvietto on the 
3d July 1281.^ The danger was serious. Charles of 
Anjou promised to furnish eight thousand cavalry, and 
the Venetians engaged to arm forty galleys, in order to 
commence operations in the spring of 1283. In the 
mean time a body of troops, under the command of 
Solimon Rossi, was despatched to occupy Dyrrachium 
and assist the Albanians, who had recently revolted 
against Michael. This expedition proved unsuccessful ; 
Rossi was taken prisoner while besieging Belgrade 
(Berat), and the Neapolitans and Albanians were 

* Pachymerea, i. 280. Ducange, ffittoire de GmstauUnophf 194. 
> Ducange, Hiitoire de Constantinople-^ Recueil de$ Charift, 27. 


completely defeated. But the Greek emperor could a. d. 
only intrigue to avert the great storm with which he ^^^|^^- 
was threatened by the treaty of Orvietto, and in the 
end he was saved by the deeds of others. The Sicilian 
Vespers dehvered the Greeks from all further fear of 
Charles of Anjou and of a French invasion, and Michael 
was able to smile at the impotent rage of Martin IV., 
and despise his excommunications. 

The vicinity of the Bulgarians, joined to their national 
power and influence over the numbers of their country- 
men settled in the Greek empire, gave Michael some 
uneasiness at the commencement of his reign. Con- 
stantine, king of Bulgaria, had married a sister of the 
dethroned Emperor John IV., and he was induced, by 
the feelings of his wife, by the intrigues of the fugitive 
Sultan of Iconium, and by the hopes of assistance from 
the Mogul emperor, Houlagon, to attack the Greek 
empire. Michael took the field against the Bulgarians, 
and in the year 1265 drove them beyond Mount 
Haemus ; but as he was returning to Constantinople 
he had nearly fallen into the hands of a body of Bul- 
garian and Tartar cavalry, through the treachery of 
Kaikous, the fugitive Sultan of Iconium, who had in- 
formed the enemy of his movements. Constantine, 
king of Bulgaria, having lost his wife Irene Lascaris, 
married Maria, the second daughter of Michael's sister 
Eulogia, and the emperor promised to cede Mesembria 
and Anchialos to Bulgaria as the dowry of his niece. 
But this promise was given in the year 1272, when 
the danger of Charles of Anjou invading the empire 
appeared imminent. As soon, therefore, as the influ- 
ence of the Pope and the crusade of St Louis to Tunis 
had secured Michael from all fear, with his usual 
treachery he found a pretext for declining to fulfil his 
promise. A treaty which the emperor concluded with 
a powerful Tartar chief named Nogay, and civil dis- 


BOOK IT. sension among the Bulgarians, relieved Michael &om 
c«mm 1. j2 serious da^er on his northern frontier during the 
remainder of his reign,^ 

The affairs of SCTvia, also, gave the emperor very- 
little trouble.^ 

The period of Greek history embraced in the present 
chapter of this work, extending through the century 
and a-half during which the empire of Constantinople 
was ruled with despotic sway by the dynasty of Paleo- 
logos, is the most degrading portion of the national 
annals. Literary taste, pohtical honesty, patriotic 
feeling, military honour, civil liberty, and judicial 
purity, seem all to have abandoned the Greek race, 
and pubUc opinion would, in all probability, have had 
no existence — ^it would certainly have found no mode 
of expression — had not the Greek church placed itself 
in opposition to the imperial government, and awak- 
ened in the breasts of the Greek people a spirit of par- 
tisanship on ecclesiastical questions, which prepared 
the way for the open expression of the popular will, 
if not for the actual formation of pubhc opinion. The 
church was converted into an arena where pohtical 
and social discontent of every kind arrayed their forces 
under the banners of orthodoxy, heresy, or schism, as 
accident or passion might determine. In spite of the 
mental torpidity of the Greeks, during this period, the 
church is ftdl of heresy and schism. Yet, strange to 
say, no pohtical, moral, or religious improvements re- 
sulted from the innumerable discussions and disputes 
which formed the principal occupation of the Constan- 
tinopohtan Greeks for a hundred and fifty years. The 
cause of this is evident ; the right of exercising private 

1 There ia much curious iDformation in Pachymeres ooncerning the Bulga- 
rians and the Tartars, i. 140, 153-159, 2S4-2S9, 292-806, 819, 856. 

' Pachymeres, i. 240. The Servians, however, gained possession of the 
upper valley of the Azios (Vardar) and the dty of Skoupies (Uskup).— Can- 
tacttienus^ 778. 


judgment, both in political and ecclesiastical affairs, a. d. 
was denied to the Greeks : they might range them- ^ ^^'^'^^ ' 
selves as partisans of Barlaam or Palamas ; they might 
believe that the mind perceived a divine light when 
the eyes remained long fixed on the stomach ; and they 
might dispute concerning the essence and the active 
energy of the Divinity, but they dared not introduce 
common sense and truth to influence the decision of 
the point at issue. PubUc discussion being prohibited, 
no real pubhc opinion could be formed in the nation. 
Each different section of the people only heard the 
opinions of its own leaders, and formed its ideas of 
the doctrines of its opponents from their misrepresent- 
ations. Instead of some general convictions, which 
ought to have been impressed on the mind of 
every Greek, what appeared to be public opinion 
was nothing but the temporary expression of the 
popular will, uttered in moments of excitement and 

Such was the mental condition of the Greeks from 
the recovery of Constantinople until its conquest by 
the Othomans. Justice was dormant in the state; 
Christianity was torpid in the church. Orthodoxy 
performed the duties of civil liberty, and the priest- 
hood became the focus of political opposition. Finan- 
cial oppression was often local ; judicial iniquities 
affected a small number, and national feelings were 
imconnected with material interests. Ecclesiastical 
formulas and religious doctrines were the only facts 
with which the Greek people were generally acquainted, 
and on which every man felt called upon to pronounce 
an opinion. The mob of Constantinople had once 
made the colours of the jockey-clubs of the hippodrome 
a bond of party union ; the Greek nation now made 
theology a medium for expressing its defiance of the 
emperor, and its hatred of the imperial administration. 


BOOK IV. This fact sufficiently explains how matters in themselves 
CMwi^i. ^^^ ^^^ intelligible to ordinary intellects acquired a 
real political importance, and questions apparently little 
calculated to excite popular interest drew forth the 
liveliest expressions of sympathy. We understand 
why the Greeks, who showed little national energy in 
defending their political independence against the 
Crusaders and the Turks, displayed the greatest enthu- 
siasm in defending their church against their own 
emperors and patriarchs, as well as against the Pope. 
The social organisation of the Greeks has its seat at 
the family hearth, and the nation has only moved in a 
body when some individual impulse has animated 
every rank of society. 

The anxiety of the Emperor Michael VIII. to be 
relieved from the ecclesiastical censures pronounced by 
the Patriarch Arsenios against him, for his treachery to 
his pupil and sovereign John IV., was the conmience- 
ment of his disputes with the Greek church, and of his 
negotiations with the Popes. Michael solicited the 
Patriarch to impose some penance on him which might 
expiate his crime, but Arsenios could suggest nothing 
but reparation. The emperor considered this tanta- 
moimt to a sentence of dethronement, and he deter- 
mined to depose Arsenios. The Patriarch was accused 
before a synod of having omitted a prayer for the 
emperor in performing the church service, of having 
allowed the exiled Sultan of Iconium, Kaikous, to join 
in the celebration of divine service on Easter Sunday, 
and of allowing the sultan's children to receive the holy 
conmiunion from the hands of his chaplain without any 
proof that they were Christians. To these accusations 
Arsenios replied, that he only omitted one prayer for 
the emperor and used another, and that he had treated 
the sultan and his children as Christians, because he 
had been assured by the Bishop of Pisidia that they 


had received baptism/ While this synod was pursu- a. d. 
ing its inquiry, the Emperor Michael attempted to gain ^^cm^. 
his object by one of the diplomatic tricks to which he 
was strangely attached; but his subterfuge was detected, 
and he received a rebuke from the Patriarch which 
inflamed his animosity. When the Patriarch was pro- 
ceeding to the Church of St Sophia the Emperor joined 
him, having previously sent forward an order to the 
clergy to commence high mass the moment the Patri- 
arch should enter. On approaching the door of the 
cathedral the Emperor laid hold of the Patriarch's robe, 
in order to enter the church as if he had received 
absolution ; but Arsenics hastily withdrew his robe 
from Michael's hand, and exclaimed, " It was an imbe- 
coming trick ; could you expect to deceive God, and 
obtain pardon by fraud V This scene, acted in public, 
in the vestibule of St Sophia s, left no further hope of 
reconciliation. Arsenics was deposed, and exiled to 
Proconnesus. Germanos, the bishop of Adrianople, a 
mild and learned prelate, was named his successor. 

Even in his banishment Arsenics was considered to 
be the lawful Patriarch by the majority of the ortho- 
dox, and he was visited by thousands who were anxious 
to hear his words and receive his blessing. The emperor 
was eager to punish him, but his popularity rendered 
it dangerous to attempt doing so in an arbitrary way. 
A conspiracy was discovered against the emperor's life, 
and some of the accused, when put to the torture, 
declared that Arsenics was implicated in the plot. 
The examination of the ajffair was remitted to a synod, 
which gratified the emperor by exconmiunicating Ar- 
senics without waiting for his conviction. Four depu- 
ties were despatched to Proconnesus, to communicate 
this sentence to the deposed Patriarch, and to examine 

^ Pachymeres, L 174. 


ROOK IT. him on the accusation. Of these the historian Fachy- 
cirn^L J^^J3g^ ^jjgj^ j^jj ecclesiastical official in the patriarchate, 
was one. As soon as the deputation entered on busi- 
ness, Arsenios interrupted the speaker with great 
warmth, saying, " What have I done to the emperor to 
be thus persecuted 1 I found him in a private station; 
I crowned him emperor, and he has rewarded me by 
driving me from the patriarchal palace to a rock where 
I live on common charity \" He then spoke of the new 
Patriarch as a " phratriarc V and glanced at his blessing 
(eulogia) as being rather temporal than spiritual This 
was an allusion to the emperor's sister Eulogia, the 
protectress of Germanos, to whose influence over her 
brother Arsenics attributed the cruel treatment of 
John IV. The deputies then began to read the sen- 
tence of excommunication, but Arsenios rose from his 
seat, covered his ears with his hands, and walked about 
the room mumbling what we must suppose to have 
been prayers. The deputies followed, raising their 
voices as they walked. Arsenios then interrupted them 
in a passion, calling Heaven to witness that he was 
treated with injustice ; but when the deputies threat- 
ened him with the Divine vengeance for despising the 
deputies of the church, he grew calmer, and said, with 
more moderation, "It seems I am accused of having 
made my patriarchal duties the means of conspiring 
against the emperor's life. The accusation is false. He 
has left me to die of hunger, but I have never ceased 
to pray for him."' But his whole discourse was filled 
with bitterness against Michael, and he made no scruple 
of condemning his usurpation. 

The deputies, having executed their commission, 
sailed for Constantinople, but a storm overtook them, 
and they were in danger of shipwreck. They attri- 
buted their danger to the circimistance of their having 
sailed from Proconnesus without asking the blessing 


of Arsenios, whom all appear to have considered as the a. d. 
true Patriarch. Pachymeres relates that each of the ^ ^^^'^^^ 
deputies owned afterwards that he was anxious at 
parting to obtain the blessing of Arsenios, but was 
afraid of rendering himself an object of suspicion and 
persecution at court. The report of the deputies 
induced Germanos to intercede for his predecessor. 
Arsenios was absolved from the accusation, and a pen- 
sion of three hundred byzants was allowed him for his 
subsistence, granted from the privy purse of the em- 
press — for it was believed that Arsenios would accept 
nothing from the excommunicated emperor.^ 

The courtiers of Michael were as active in their 
intrigues as the emperor. A party in the church 
declared that the election of Grermanos was invalid, for 
he had been removed from the See of Adrianople in 
violation of the canon which prohibits the translation 
of a bishop from one see to another. The emperor's 
confessor, Joseph, pronounced that the new Patriarch 
could not grant a legal absolution to the emperor, in 
consequence of this defect in his title to the patriarchal 
throne. Germanos soon perceived that both Michael 
and Joseph were encouraging opposition to his autho- 
rity. He immediately resigned, and Joseph was named 
his successor.^ The emperor received his absolution as 
a matter of course. The ceremony was performed at 
the gates of St Sophia's. Michael, kneeling at the 
Patriarch's feet, made his confession, and implored 
pardon. The Patriarch read the form of absolution. 
This form was repeated by every bishop in succession, 
and the emperor knelt before each in turn and received 
his pardon. He was then admitted into the church, 
and partook of the holy communion. By this idle and 

* Pachymeres, i. 193. 

* Joseph was named Patriarch on the 28th December 1266. — Pachymeres, 
i. 206. 


BOOK IV. pompous ceremony the Greeks believed that their churcli 
CHji^i. ^^^^ pardon perjury and legitimatise usurpation.^ 

About this time the treaty of Viterbo drew the atten- 
tion of Michael from the schism of the Arsenites to 
foreign pohcy, and his grand object being to detach the 
Pope from the alliance with Charles of Anjou, he began 
to form intrigues, by means of which he hoped to de- 
lude the Pope into the persuasion that he was anxious 
and able to establish papal supremacy in the Greek 
Church; while, on the other hand, he expected to cheat 
the Eastern clergy into making those concessions which 
he considered necessary for the success of his plans, 
on the groimd that their compliance was a mere matter 
of diplomacy. Gregory X. knew that it would be easier 
to effect the union of the Greek and Latin Churches by 
the instrumentality of a Greek emperor than of a foreign 
conqueror. He therefore prohibited Charles of Anjou, 
who held the crown of Naples as his vassal, from in- 
vading the empire ; but he forced Michael, by fear of 
invasion, to assemble a synod at Constantinople, in 
which, by cruelty and violence, the emperor succeeded 
in obtaining an acknowledgment of the papal supre- 
macy. The severest persecution was necessary to com- 
pel the Greeks to sign the articles of union, and many 
families emigrated to VaDachian Thessaly and to the 
empire of Trebizond.^ 

The union of the Greek and Latin Churches was 
completed in the year 1274 at the Council of Lyons. 
On the 6th of July, at the fourth session of the Council, 

^ The ceremony took place on the 2d Febniaxy 1267. — Fbchymerea, i. 207. 

* The power of Michael was despotic, and his conduct arbitrary in the ex- 
treme. To reader Vekkos and Xiphilinos amenable to his ecclesiastical reason- 
ing, he ordered their houses to be destroyed, and their vineyards to be rooted 
out. — Pachymeres, i. 151, 165. 

The government of the republic of Genoa was about this time administered 
on similar principles. Caffaro, in his annals, mentions that the refractory citi- 
sens who would not swear to keep the peace, were forced to do so by the con- 
suls, who pulled down their houses and towers. — Viucens, Hi$toire d€ G^net, 
i. 226. 


Germanos, who had resigned the patriarchal throne, a. d. 
George Acropolita the historian, and some other Greek ^ ^^'^^^^ 
clergy and nobles, presented themselves and repeated 
the creed in the Latin form, with the addition of the 
words, "proceeding from the father and the son." 
They then swore to conform to the faith of the Koman 
Church, to pay obedience to its orders, and to recognise 
the supremacy of the Pope, — Acropolita, as grand logo- 
thetes, repeating the oaths in the name of the Emperor 

When the news of this submission reached Constan- 
tinople there was a general expression of indignation. 
The Patriarch Joseph, who opposed the union, was de- 
posed, and Vekkos, an ecclesiastic of eminence, who had 
recently become a convert to the Latin creed, was 
named in his place. The schisms in the Greek Church 
were now multiplied, for Joseph, became the head of a 
new party. Vekkos, however, assembled a synod, and 
excommunicated those members of the Greek clergy 
who refused to recognise the Pope as the head of the 
Church of Christ. Nicephorus, despot of Epirus, and 
his brother, John Dukas, the prince of Vlakia, protected 
the orthodox. Both were excommimicated ; and the 
emperor sent an army against John Dukas, whose posi- 
tion in Thessaly threatened the tranquillity of Macedonia ; 
but the imperial officers and troops showed no activity in 
a cause which they considered treason to their religion, 
and many of the emperor's own relations deserted. 

By a series of intrigues, tergiversation, meanness, and 
cruelty, Michael succeeded in gaining his immediate 
object. Nicholas IIL, who ascended the papal throne 
in 1277, formally refused Charles of Anjou permission 
to invade the Greek empire, and sent four nuncios to 
Constantinople to complete the union of the churches. 
The papal instructions are curious as an exposition of 
the political views of the Court of Kome, and display 


BOOK IT. astute diplomacy, acting at the suggestions of grasping 
-Jl— ambition, but blinded by ecclesiastical bigotry.^ The 
first object was to induce all the dignitaries of the 
Greek church to sign the Boman formulary of doc- 
trine, and to persuade them to accept absolution for 
having lived separate from the Boman communion; 
the second, to prevail on the emperor to receive a 
cardinal legate at Constantinople. Before the arrival 
of the Pope's ambassadors, the arbitrary conduct of 
Michael had involved him in a quarrel with his new 
patriarch, Vekkos, whom he was on the point of depos- 
ing. All Michael's talents for intrigue were called into 
requisition, to prevent the Greek clergy firom breaking 
out into open rebellion during the stay of the Pope's am- 
bassadors, and conceal the state of his relations with 
Vekkos, who stood high at the Court of Bonie. Bribes, 
cajolery, and meanness on his part, and selfishness and 
subserviency on the part of the Eastern clergy, enabled 
him to succeed.^ But the death of Nicholas III. in 
1280 rendered his intrigues unavailing. Martin IV., a 
Frenchman, devoted to the interests of Charles of Anjou, 
became Pope. He openly displayed his hatred of the 
Greeks, and excommunicated Michael as a hypocrite, 
who concealed his heresy. While Martin IV. openly 
negotiated the treaty of Orvietto, Michael secretly 
aided the conspiracy of Procida. The condition of the 
Greek emperor was almost desperate. He was univer- 
sally detested for his exactions and persecutions, and a 
numerous and bigoted party was ready to make any 
foreign attack the signal for a domestic revolution. 
The storm was about to burst on Michael's head, when 
the fearful tragedy of the Sicilian Vespers broke the 
power of Charles of Anjou. 

1 See Raynaldi, AnnaL EeeUa,, and Waddimgti Annai. Minarum, under tfa^ 
year 1278. 
* Pachymeres, L 811-318. 


Michael then quitted his capital to punish John a.d. 
Dnkas, whom he considered almost as a rival; but ^ ^^-^^^ 
death arrested his progress at Pachomion, near Lysi- 
machia in Thrace, on the 11th December 1282, after a 
reign of twenty-four years.^ He was a tjrpe of the Con- 
stantinopolitan Greek nobles and officials in the empire 
he re-established and transmitted to his descendants. 
He was selfish, hypocritical, able and accomplished, an 
in-born liar, vain, meddling, ambitious, cruel, and rapa- 
cious. He is renowned in history as the restorer of the 
Eastern Empire ; he ought to be execrated as the cor- 
rupter of the Greek race, for his reign affords a signal 
example of the extent to which a nation may be de- 
graded by the misconduct of its sovereign, when it 
intrusts lum with despotic power. 

SECT. U. — BEIGK OF Ain)RONICUS U., A.D. 1282-1828. 
Character of Aitdrokicus II. — EccuEsuancAL affairs during his reion 


Qreee empire — Conquests of the Seljouk Turks in Asia Minor — 
Foundation of the Othoman power — Arrival of the Catalan Grand 
CoMPANT — Roger db Flor— Catalans at Ctzious— Campaigns in Asia 
Minor — Assassination of Roger de Flor— Battle of Apros-— Cata- 

AUXILIARIES— Rhodes conquered bt thb Knights of St John of Jeru- 
salem — Andronicus the younger— Civil war of the emperor with 
HIS GRANDSON- Peace of Rhsgion — Second civil war— Peace of Epi- 
BATES — Third civil war — Taking of Constantinople — Death of 
Andronicus II. 

Andronicus the Second ascended the throne at the 
age of twenty-four, having been bom about the time 
his father received the imperial crown at Nicsea.^ He 
had most of the defects of his father's character, with- 
out his personal dignity and military talents. In 

1 Pftchymeres, i. 860. Compare note 2 at page 468, and note 1 at page 476 of 
this volume. 
* Pachymeres, ii. 4. 


BOOK TV. youth he was destitute of vigour, in old age of pru- 
'"' dence. His administration was marked by the same 
habits of cunning and falsehood which had distinguished 
his father s conduct ; and the consequence was, that, 
towards the end of his long reign, he was as generally 
despised as his father had been hated. In his private 
character he was arbitrary, peevish, and religious ; in 
his public administration despotic, fond of meddling 
industrious and inconsequent. Every evil that had 
taken root during Michael's reign extended itself 
through his incapacity, for, though always engaged with 
public affairs, he could neither transact business him- 
self with due promptitude, nor would he allow his 
ministers to perform the duties he neglected. He was 
personally frugal, but he ruined the Greek empire by in- 
creasing the expenditure of the court, and rendering 
offices and pensions the only objects of Greek ambition.^ 
The ecclesiastical policy of Andronicus was as arbi- 
trary and tyrannical as Michael's, but his religious 
opinions were sincerely and strictly orthodox. To 
him the addition to the creed and the use of unleavened 
bread in the communion were matters touching man's 
salvation ; he was therefore eager to destroy his father's 
work. The court, headed by the emperor's aunt Eu- 
logia, instead of weeping for the death of Michael, 
wept only that his soul was in danger of eternal perdi- 
tion ; and the clergy attacked his memory before his 
remains were committed to the earth. Andronicus, 
eager to efface the stain of his own sinful compliance 

^ Pachymeres, ii. 1 29. The emperor made the Patriarch a yearly present of one 
thousand byzauta; but as they were paid in his debased coinage, it is not easy 
to say whether it is a proof of his superstitious liberality or of his frugality. — 
Pachymeres, ii. 195. Chumnos, the principal secretary of state, was the richest 
man in the empire. The wealth of Constantino, the emperor's brother, seems to 
have been the real cause of the accusation of treason on which he was con- 
demned, the objoct being to fill the public treasury by the confiscation of his 
property. — Pachymeres, iL 104; Nicephorus Gregoras, 114. Andronicus IL 
carried his brother, during his journeys, in a litter formed of iron bars, to pre- 
vent his escape. Bajazet's iron cage was one of these Byzantine litters for 
state prisoners. — Pachymeres, ii. 110. 


with the union of the churches, allowed the body of a. d. 
his father to be deprived of the usual funeral honours ' ^^^^^ ' 
and public prayers. The Empress Michael's widow 
was compelled to abjure the union, and to approve of 
the indignities to his memory, before her own name 
was inserted in the public prayers for the imperial 
family. The Patriarch Vekkos was forced to resign, 
and his predecessor Joseph was reinstated on the 
patriarchal throne. 

It is necessary to give some account of the ecclesi- 
astical disputes and clerical intrigues in the Greek 
church at this period, as they were for many years 
the principal object of the emperor's attention and the 
central pivot of his policy. The restoration of Joseph 
introduced additional troubles and abuses into the 
Greek church, which was already distracted by schisms. 
Yet even in its confused and corrupted state, the Greeks 
looked up to their ecclesiastical establishment as their 
guiding institution through the misconduct of the civil 
government and the defects of the judicial administra- 
tion. It has been abeady noticed that the administra- 
tive and judicial authority of the bishops increased 
greatly after the conquest of Constantinople by the 
Crusaders. Theodore II. had viewed the increase of 
their authority with distrust, but Michael VIII. had 
favoured their assumption of administrative power, as 
he found he could easily fill the church with prelates 
subservient to his wiU; while the nobles and local 
magistrates began in every distant province to display 
feelings of feudal independence which they had im- 
bibed from their intercourse with the Western nations. 
Andronicus II. found the prelates in possession of great 
judicial power : they were the judges as well as the 
priests of the Greek nation. We need therefore feel 
no surprise at finding the clergy commanding the 
people and synods assuming the characteristics of 

VOL. II. 2 G 


BOOK IV. national assemblies. The vice of the system was that 
^•"•*^ the clergy was an irresponsible body as far as their civil 
duties were concerned, and the bishops had interests 
diflFerent from the people even in matters of law and 
justice. Their power consequently followed the usual 
course of all irresponsible institutions. As it was 
founded on what was deemed an indisputable and 
sacred right, it admitted of no improvement, nor of any 
reform, so that, according to an invariable law of man's 
corrupt nature, its immutability soon filled it with 
abuses. Of these, simony was the most prominent.^ 
The political condition which society assumed in the 
Greek empire of Constantinople, under this exorbitant 
influence of the church, was one of corruption and 
decline. It deserves to be contrasted with the vigorous 
impulse which popular action displayed in the Byzan- 
tine empire under the Iconoclast emperors, when the 
civil power and the legal administration disputed for 
their independence against the efforts of the orthodox 
church to enslave society. The uncontested supremacy 
of the clergy has ever been a political evil of fearful 

The bigotry of Andronicus induced him to sanction 
the establishment of a tribunal, consisting chiefly of 
monks, which was empowered to fix the penance to be 
performed by those who desired to obtain absolution 
from a general sentence of excommunication, launched 
against all who had communicated with the Latin 
church. As nearly the whole population of the empire 
had fallen under this sentence of excommunication, the 
power of the tribunal was unlimited. The rich were 

^ The awioe of the cleigy and the corrupt state of the eocledaBtical body 
at this period is proved by the ordiDance of Andronicus prohibiting the pay- 
ment of money for ordinations ; by the corrupt practices of Theophanes dur- 
ing the patriarchate of Athanasios, and by the conduct of the Patriarch Niphon. 
The exertions of Andronicus to reform the administration of justice are noticed 
by Pachymeres, ii. 160. Compare Pachymeres, ii 135 ; Nicephorus Gregoras, 
159, and note. Banduri, Imp. OrUnt.,'\\, 985. 


mulcted according to the sensibility of their consciences a. d. . 
and the malice of their enemies, while ecclesiastics ob- ' ^^'^^"^ ' 
noxious to the bigots were suspended from the exercise 
of their functions. The facility with which Michael 
VIII. had persuaded the majority of the orthodox 
church to adopt the heterodox doctrines of union and 
charity, persuaded the hyperorthodox that violent mea- 
sures were required to guard against any future reac- 
tion. It was determined to make the deposed Patri- 
arch Vekkos the scapegoat of the church. A synod 
was assembled, in which he was condemned ; but this 
synod was so notoriously under the influence of fana- 
tical monks, that Theoktistos, the bishop of Adrianople, 
sarcastically observed, " It seems the bishops are to be 
used as wooden spits to roast Vekkos ; and when the 
dish is served they will be thrown into the fire to make 
a blaze.^'^ Vekkos, however, was not more inclined to 
seek the crown of martyrdom than his contemporaries 
in the Greek church. He signed a written renuncia- 
tion of the patriarchate and an orthodox profession of 

The Patriarch Joseph had a short period of triumph; 
he died in 1283. The partisans of Arsenics, who had 
never recognised any subsequent election, now claimed 
the church as being alone orthodox. The emperor so 
far acknowledged their pretensions as to put them in 
possession of the great church of All-Saints, which, 
having remained closed ever since the reconquest of 
Constantinople, on account of the diminished numbers 
of the Greek population, had escaped profanation by 
the Josephites and the Unionists. The Emperor An- 
dronicus selected a layman of considerable leam- 

^ Pachymeres, il 14. Every traveller who has seen the Qreeks roast a 
sheep whole, has probably seen the wooden spit on which it was roasted 
thrown into the fire aiter the dish was served. This synod condemned some 
of the writings of Acropolita» and other works on the possession of the 
Holy Qhost 


BOOK IT. ing, George of Cyprus, to be the new Patriarch, who 
cu^ju%t. j^^Q^yg^ j^ consecration from the Bishop of Debron, 
a prelate who had taken no part in the ecclesiastical 
disputes which followed the deposition of Arsenios. ^ 
George of Cyprus assumed the name of Gregorios as 
PatriarcL The bigoted party now gained the ascen- 
dancy. A council was held in the church of Blachem; 
all the bishops who had advocated papal supremacy 
were expelled from their sees, and many were impri- 
soned. The partisans of Arsenics and Joseph were 
then left alone to contend for absolute power in the 
church, and an immediate collision ensued. The vio- 
lence of the Arsenites alarmed both the emperor and 
the patriarch ; they were led on by Andronikos^ the 
Bishop of Sardes, and supported by the monks and the 

The emperor was unable to decide between the dis- 
putants ; and in order to settle his own opinions, as 
well as those of his subjects, he ordered a council of 
the Greek church to assemble at Adramyttum.^ The 
whole attention of the imperial administration was 
directed to the business of this assembly. An army of 
monks marched to attend its meetings ; for, in the 
Greek empire at that period, monks were almost as 
numerous an element of the population as the military 
now are in the empires of France, Austria, and Eussia. 
To preserve order, the government found it necessary 
to issue regular rations to these ecclesiastical troops, 
among whom were crowds of blind and mutilated vic- 
tims of the persecutions of the late emperor. Inci- 
dental disputes soon rendered all agreement among the 
members of the assembly impossible ; and at last both 

> Debron or Diyri, in Macedonia, was a see dependent on the archbishoprio 
of Achrida or patriarchate of Bulgaria, and was within the dominions of Nice- 
phorus, despot of Epirus. The bishop was residing at Constantinople as the 
despot's ambassador. 

' Pachymeree, ii. 85, with Byzantine pedantry, says Thebes ; but Nicephorus 
Gregoras, though as great a pedant, uses the oixlinary name Adrymettum. 


parties consented to remit the decision to the judgment a. d. 

of God. They expected Heaven to pronounce whether ' 

the Arsenites or Josephites were most worthy to rule 
the Greek church, and to reveal its sentence by a 
miracle. Two scrolls, inscribed with the adverse opi- 
nions, were cast into the flames in presence of the 
assembled clergy, and both were instantly reduced to 
ashes. The emperor and the people were satisfied ; and 
the Arsenites, feeling themselves condemned, consented 
to receive the communion from the hands of the Patri- 
arch Gregorios. Next day, however, their murmurs 
revived, and they recommenced their intrigues. The 
emperor summoned their leaders to his presence, and 
asked them if they recognised Gregorios as lawful 
Patriarch ; which they were compelled to admit that 
they did, as they had commimicated with him the day 
before. Gregorios, who was concealed to overhear their 
admission, then entered the room, and, after upbraiding 
them for their intrigues, pronounced an excommunica- 
tion against all who should venture to disobey his 
orders. This trick awakened new passions. The Divine 
condemnation of their disputes was forgotten by both 
parties, and the ecclesiastical warfare reconmienced 
with redoubled violence. 

Andronikos, bishop of Sardes, the emperor's con- 
fessor, though the leader of the Arsenites, had contrived 
to remain at Constantinople, where he awaited the 
deposition of Gregorios, whose place he expected to 
occupy. He had quitted the cloister to intrigue at 
court. He was now accused of treasonable discourse, 
and degraded from the episcopal rank. When he was 
brought up to receive his sentence, one of the bishops, 
expelled from his see by the council of Blachem, drop- 
ped a monk's cowl on his head. The deposed bishop 
seized it with such vivacity that, in throwing it away, 
he pulled oflF his skull-cap, and left his head bare. ThQ 


BOOK IV. people, who were in the habit of attending every eccle- 

CHjiLii. gjj^^j^j assembly as a species of public amusement, 

enjoyed the comic scene, and shouted, in allusion to his 

intrigues, that Andronikos had now his head ready for 

the patriarchal crown. ^ 

The emperor, who could never follow any line of con- 
duct steadily, again revived the spirit of the Arsenites, 
by allowing them to transport the body of Arsenios 
from Cyzicus to Constantinople, while, at the same 
time, he determined to allow Vekkos an impartial hear- 
ing. A new council was assembled at Blachem, a. d. 
1284. Vekkos could neither moderate his presumption 
nor conceal his envy, and his defence degenerated into 
a virulent attack on the Patriarch Gregorios, which 
disgusted everybody ; and he was sent back to his 
exile at Brusa. 

The Patriarch Gregorios, who was as fond of pole- 
mics as Vekkos, and as proud of his eloquence, indulged 
his taste, until one of his tracts was condemned as 
heterodox, which compelled him to resign in 1289.^ 

Athanasios, a hermit of the most rigid principles, was 
raised to the patriarchal throne that he might reform 
the church, and he retained at court all the inflexibi- 
lity of the ascete. The bishops who resided at Con- 
stantinople, immersed in political intrigues, were ordered 
to retire to their sees. The monks, who acted as con- 
fessors and political agents for the nobles, and who 
might be seen, at all hours of the day and night, am- 
bling on their sleek and richly-caparisoned mules from 
palace to palace, were sent back to their monasteries. 
Bishops and nobles, monks and court ladies, soon rose 
in rebellion against the reforms of Athanasios; and the 
Emperor Andronicus, who wished a patriarch to act as 

^ Paohymeras, ii. 40. 

' There is a notice of the events of the patriarchate of Qregorios in Banduri, 
Imperium OrUntale, ii. 934-962. 


A minister of his own intrigues, to govern the church, a. d. 
not as an ecclesiastical reformer, to augment its power, ^'^^^^ ' 
joining the opposition, Athanasios was forced to resign, 
after he governed the church four years. ^ 

Some curious proceedings are connected with the 
resignation of Athanasios. Christian charity was not 
a virtue prevalent in the Greek church at any time, 
and Athanasios had even less than other priests. Be- 
fore resigning the patriarchate, he prepared a writing, 
justifying his conduct, and anathematising all his 
calumniators, and all who had assisted in procuring 
his resignation. To this document he affixed the leaden 
seal of the patriarchate, and having deposited it in an 
earthen jar, he concealed it in the ornamental work 
above the galleries of St Sophia's. Four years after his 
resignation, it was found by some boys who were seek- 
ing for young pigeons, which were then as numerous 
about the churches of Constantinople as they now are 
about the mosques. The paper was carried to the 
reigning Patriarch, Joannes, and the whole body of the 
orthodox was thrown into a state of consternation by 
the discovery ; for the empire appeared to be placed 
under an interdict, from which there was no possibility 
of obtaining canonical reUef. Many of the sincere 
bigots began to fancy that they were already suflFering 
the pains of the damned. Tranquillity was at last 
restored by the Emperor Andronicus, who obtained 
from Athanasios a written declaration that he had 
revoked the anathema before his resignation, on his 
mind becoming more tranquil, and that it was only 
from inadvertency that he had forgotten to destroy the 

The next patriarch was Joannes, a monk of Sozo- 

^ Pachymeres, ii. 117; Nioephorus Gregoras, 110. 

' This curious document is givea by Pachymeres, ii. 113. Compare Pachy- 
meres, ii. 169, and Banduri, Imptrium Orientate, ii. 968-973. 


BOOK IV. polls, (a.d. 1294-1303).' Like all his predecessors, 
^"' he became involved in diflferences with the emperor, 
who was incessantly meddling in ecclesiastical dfairs. 
Joannes signed an act of abdication ; but a question 
arose concerning its validity, and his name continued 
to be mentioned as patriarch in the pubUc prayers. 
The emperor was eager to terminate the business, in 
order to reinstate Athanasios in the government of 
the church ; the Patriarch Joannes was as eager to 
retain his place. While matters stood thus, Androni- 
cus paid Joannes a visit, at which the Patriarch made 
a bold attempt to intimidate the ecclesiastical con- 
science of the scrupulous emperor. As Andronicus 
entered the haU, he asked a benediction. Joannes 
replied, " (Jod will grant you his blessing ; but do you 
recognise me as Patriarch V The unsuspicious empe- 
ror answered, "Certainly." "Then,'' exclaimed the 
ambitious pontiflF, " as Patriarch I excommunicate all 
who endeavour to reinstate Athanasios on the patri- 
archal throne.'* The emperor was so confounded at 
this bold reception that he retired without uttering a 
word on the subject.* But Joannes was, nevertheless^ 
compelled to sign a formal act of abdication, and make 
way for the restoration of Athanasios. 

Athanasios resumed his schemes of reform, which 
he pursued with undiminished energy and little effect 
for eight years. His headstrong temper and violent 
disposition are said to have caused his second resigna- 
tion. A caricature, representing the Emperor Andro- 
nicus with a bridle in his mouth, while Athanasios, 
in his usual state of excitement, with violent gestures, 
was goading him forward to an image of Christ, ap- 
peared painted on the patriarchal footstool. Some 
persons, who observed the painting, accused Athan- 

* Cuper, De Patriarchit C9nitanUnopoUtani$, 172. 
' Pachymerefl, ii. 261. 


asios of impiety ; but the emperor, suspecting that ^^^f^- 

they were the real authors of the caricature, ordered ' 

them to be arrested, and they were condemned to per- 
petual imprisonment for calumniating the Patriarch. 
Athanasios, however, demanded a more signal satis- 
faction, and, being unable to obtain it, resigned the 

Niphon, bishop of Cyzicus, a man of talents, versed 
in public business, but not remarkable for theological 
learning, was the next Patriarch. He succeeded to 
the throne after a vacancy of more than two years, 
and ruled the church little more than a year, (a.d. 
1313-1314).^ He had displayed judgment and energy 
in defending his see against the incursions of the Sel- 
jouk Turks ; and by repairing the ancient fortifications 
on the isthmus of Cyzicus, he had rendered the whole 
peninsula a safe place of refuge for the inhabitants 
of the neighbouring continent.^ As Patriarch he dis- 
tinguished himself by his magnificence, luxury, and 
cupidity. His table and his stud were superior to 
those of the emperor ; but as he affected extraordi- 
nary eagerness to accomplish the emperor's favourite 
scheme of uniting the schismatic Arsenites with the 
orthodox, his faults were overlooked. Accusations of 
simony at last caused his deposition.* His successor 
was John Glykys, a layman of high character, whom 
bad health caused to abdicate after he had governed 
the church four years. 

The Emperor Andronicus then determined to govern 
the church himself, and, in order to meet with no 
opposition, he placed an old deaf and ignorant monk^ 

1 Nicephorus Gregoras, 159. Compare Boiyin's note, p. 762, where the act 
of resignation is given ; and Bandnri, Imp, OrientaUf ii 976. 
' Cuper, De Patriarehii ConttantmopciUanUf 174. 
' Paohymeres, ii. 271. 

* Niceph. Greg., 166 ; Banduri, Imp, Orimtale, ii. 986. 

* Nicephonis Oregoras, 179. 


BOOK lY. named Gerasimos, on the patriarchal throne. Of the 
*' "' * * " eight patriarchs who ruled the church during the 
reign of Andronicus, he was the first who was not 
compelled to resign, unless we add Joseph, who died 
as Patriarch in the reign of Andronicus, after having 
been compelled to resign his throne to Vekkos during 
the reign of Michael VIII. Gerasimos occupied the 
patriarchal throne about a.year, (a.d. 1320-1321). 

The last Patriarch named by Andronicus XL was 
Isaiah, a monk of Mount Athos, whom he had expected 
to find as docile as Gerasimos. He was disappointed ; 
but the quarrel which ensued requires to be noticed 
in connection with the civil wars that ended in the 
dethronement of Andronicus. 

This short abstract of the ecclesiastical events that 
occurred in the Greek empire during the reign of An- 
dronicus II., is sufficient to give the reader some idea 
of the occupations for which the emperor neglected 
the civil administration and military defence of his 

The state of the Seljouk empire iavited Andronicus 
to regain possession of those districts in Asia Minor 
which were still inhabited by a majority of Greeks. 
Theodore Lascaris I., even while pressed on one side 
by the Crusaders, had, nevertheless, defeated the whole 
forces of the Seljouks when united under a warlike 
sultan. Andronicus II. was now unable to resist the 
attacks of the petty chiefs, who acted aa independent 
princes under the nominal sovereignty of Alaeddin 
III., the last of the Seljouk sultans of Iconium. The 
provincial governors who dismembered this Turkish 
empire are usually said to have founded ten princi- 
palities or emirats ; for some of the independent chiefs 
who ruled only a few cities were not ranked in the 
list of emirs. These emirats are known in history by 
the names of their founders ; but their boimdaries can 


only be approximatively determined, as they were a. d. 
undergoing continnal change. Their extent corre- ^ ^^^^ ^' 
sponded neither with that of the Byzantine themes 
into which the country had been divided when it was 
conquered by the Seljouk Turks, nor with the ancient 
geographical divisions of which the Greek writers 
make use in describing the relations of the emirs with 
the empire of Constantinople.^ 

During the earlier years of the reign of Andronicus, 
the power of the Turks excited no alarm. The garri- 
sons in the frontier fortresses were reduced, the number 
of the legions was diminished, and many of the ships 
kept ready for service by Michael VIII. were laid up 
in the arsenal. Andronicus required all the money he 
could divert from the military and naval services for 
the court and the church. The officers could only 
gain advancement by becoming courtiers ; the soldiers 
could only avoid neglect by becoming monks.^ The 
system adopted for maintaining the troops in garrison 
and in winter-quarters reveals the fuU extent to which 
disorder and peculation might proceed. The imperial 
authorities announced to the municipal magistrates 
the number of troops to be quartered in the town, and 
the reparation was then made to each house according 
to the census of the proprietor. The householder was 
then obliged to furnish ike soldier with a daily ration 
of provisions and wine at a price fixed by a commis- 
sion, and for these he was only paid at distant inter- 
vals when the soldiers received their pay. As the 

^ Enumerations of the chiefs and tribes are given by Pachyzneres, ii 270 ; 
Nicephorus Gregoras, ISO; Chaloocondylas, 7 ; and Ducas, 4. Compare Hamr 
mer, Hittoire de VBmpire Ottoman^ i 53, Uud. par Hellert and Parisot ; Nice- 
phorus Gregoras, lib. xzxvii, p. 157. The geographical division may be vaguely 
given as follows — 1. Karasi (part of Mysia) ; 2. Saroukhan ; 8. Aidin (Lydia) ; 
4. Mentesh ; 5. Hamid (Caria and Lycia) ; 5. Tekk6 (part of Lydia and Pam- 
phylia) ; 7. Karaman (Pbryjg[ia) ; 8. Kermian (Pisidia and Lycaonia) ; 9. Eas- 
temoni (part of Paphlagonia, Phrygia, and Bithynia); 10. Othmaa (a small 
part of Bithynia).* 

' Pachymeree^ it 43 ; Nicephorus Qregoras, 106. The Gasmuls, who were 
the best sailors in the Greek fleet, were dismissed from economy. 


BOOK IT. troops were always in arrears, they were generally 
CBji.ji d^piy indebted to their landlords. A door was thus 
opened for every species of fraud on the part of the 
officers, who granted leave of absence to the soldiers 
to pocket their pay ; and on the part of the soldiers, 
who indulged in recklessness and pillage. The local 
authorities participated in the frauds committed by 
the officers, so that neither the proprietors nor the 
soldiers could ever obtain redress from the central 
government.^ The emperor preferred foreign troops, 
as they were generally found more willing to defraud 
their landlords and march out of their winter-quarters 
before receiving the fiill amount of their pay. The 
native troops were also more inclined to take part 
with the people in seditions caused by financial op- 
pression. The army of Andronicus consisted princi- 
pally of Alans, Gasmuls, Turks, Turkopuls, and refugee 
Cretans.2 The Alans received double the pay of the 
best native troops. The armies with which the Empe- 
rors of Nicsea had defeated the Turkish sultans, the